The 12th Woman
To drive awareness of Heineken’s sponsorship of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 and its ongoing mission to tackle the unconscious bias and gender inequality that still permeates football culture.
The Big Idea
Despite much progress, a legacy of terms such as ‘man on’ and the ‘the 12th man’ continue to dominate football culture. The 12th man, of course, refers to the collective power of supporters to drive on their team. Yet the term the 12th Woman had barely even been used in supporter lexicon.
We decided that it was time for a change, and that anyone, irrespective of their gender, could become the 12th Woman to support their nation in football stadia, pubs and at home with friends over a beer.
At the heart of the 12th Woman was a gender neutral allyship T-Shirt featuring the statement ‘I Am the 12th Woman’, with all proceeds from sales going to Women In Football.
The campaign was launched by a squad of celebrities including Harry Redknapp, Karen Carney, Jermaine Jenas, Ellie Taylor and AJ Odudu. All talent featured in a witty 40-second content piece that showed them traveling together in a mini-bus to watch a women’s international game, with a quick stop off on Wembley Way.
The content was used in digital advertising and syndicated to national, lifestyle and sports media for earned coverage, along with interview opportunities with our ambassadors, staggered across the tournament.
In addition, an ongoing influencer relations strategy saw the t-shirt spread across social media as the tournament went on, media were hosted at matches, panel events were organised by Heineken to demonstrate thought leadership and the t-shirts were placed in fashion pages as the must-have tournament look.
One measure of success was to make this underused slogan visible, shareable, and to insert it into the vernacular of everyone from fans to pundits.
By the end of the tournament, you couldn’t escape the phrase on TV and social media.
The campaign kicked off with a live Good Morning Britain 12th Woman feature segment and interview with Harry Redknapp two days before the tournament started. It continued to grow in reach, visibility and impact right up to the final.
The inclusivity and pervasiveness of the campaign saw Heineken become the dominant brand voice across the tournament. The message and usage of the little-known ‘12th Woman’ phrase became common parlance by the time England reached the final.