An advertiser that made women’s sports a key marketing focus explains how the strategy is playing out and how it will capitalize on the World Cup

  • Ally Financial made a pledge last year to invest equally in men’s and women’s sports media.
  • Since then, the brand’s likeability, preference, and awareness among women’s sports fans is up.
  • The company is dropping a commercial featuring female athletes during the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

When the Women’s World Cup begins today in Australia and New Zealand, US viewers will see a commercial featuring female athletes such as gender-equity icon Billie Jean King and US Women’s National Team standout Sophia Smith.

An internal audit conducted by Ally Financial a year ago revealed that the company had spent 90% of its sports-media marketing budget on men’s sports. In May 2022, the marketing team, which includes former female college athletes on its leadership, pledged to divide its media spending evenly between men’s and women’s sports.

According to the company, its investment in women’s sports is paying off. It is now purchasing airtime during one of the world’s largest female sporting events.

“Our 50/50 pledge is arguably the strongest marketing initiative we’ve ever done at Ally,” said Stephanie Marciano, Ally’s head of sports and entertainment marketing. “And I may be biased, but it has delivered tremendously for us.”

According to the company’s surveys, preference and awareness of Ally among women’s sports fans increased 20% from May 2022 to the end of the second quarter of 2023, and likeability of the brand increased 25% during the same period. According to the data, these positive consumers are six times more likely to become Ally customers and would cost the company 87% less to convert, according to Marciano.

According to Tubular Labs data, women’s college basketball viewers are 24.5 times more likely to visit Ally’s website.

Ally’s most recent investments in women’s sports include a sponsorship of the 2022 NWSL championship on CBS, which Marciano says has helped the game move into prime time. The company devoted 90% of its ESPN spending to women’s sports, and it collaborated with smaller, women-run media outlets such as Just Women’s Sports, The GIST, RE-INC, and GOALS. The brand also signed ten female athletes to form Team Ally, a group that posts about each other’s games and raises awareness of women’s sports.

Its most recent effort, the Women’s World Cup commercial, will air on Fox throughout the year. Kasey Choma, a Notre Dame lacrosse player who is also a member of Team Ally, is shown scoring a goal. She recalls it vividly because it resulted in “the nastiest bruise” on her leg as she fell over her defender, who is a good friend from home, she told Insider.

Advertiser interest in women’s sports is up

Choma stated that increased investment in women’s sports has created new opportunities for athletes in recent years. She was one of the first female faces for a different brand that had previously only sponsored men’s lacrosse players. She described working with Ally as a “no-brainer” because the company values empowering women in sports.

“For my daughter in the future,” Choma explained, “I want her to feel special.” And I feel like this is the beginning of something, the beginning of history, which is very important.”

Marciano is a former collegiate athlete. In the mid-2000s, she played basketball at Yale, competed professionally in Germany, and coached at the Division I and Division III levels. She agrees with Choma that the last few years have seen a surge in interest and investment in women’s sports that was unprecedented during her playing career.

“The popularity of women’s sports has never been greater,” Marciano stated. “Every metric in women’s sports is going up: viewership, attendance, audience size, consumption patterns, and this [commercial] is just supposed to take all that energy and piece it together.”

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply