Visa has been a Fifa partner since 2007. As the Official Payment Services Partner for the Fifa Women’s World Cup France 2019, the brand had an opportunity to showcase the company’s love of sport with its belief in equality.
Visa leveraged its sponsorship platform before, during and after the Women’s World Cup to take a stand for gender equality on and off the pitch.
The brand’s other women’s football sponsorships – with Uefa, US Soccer and the SheBelieves Cup – helped set the stage for the 2019 WWC activation campaign.
A significant portion of Visa’s overall marketing spend in 2019 went towards amplifying women athletes in the US and globally through advertising and omnichannel marketing – on TV, digital, social, on-field at the Women’s World Cup and other competitions.
Other organisations: SUM, Saatchi & Saatchi
When evaluating potential sponsorships, Visa looks for opportunities to showcase the core of the company – the future of payments – and the ability to tell the world who Visa is and what the brand stands for.
In the case of the Women’s World Cup, Visa leveraged its sponsorship platform to support women’s football on a global stage and to tell a broader story that aligned with an audience beyond sports.
Visa’s activations around the WWC took a 360-degree approach, targeting consumers across the globe tuning into the World Cup, fans onsite, local merchants and financial institutions, creating a powerful opportunity for the sponsorship to drive business, achieve maximum exposure and improve brand lift, global reach and local relevance.
Global Marketing Campaign
The brand’s global marketing campaign for the Women’s World Cup, “One Moment Can Change the Game”, amplified Visa’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs, cardholders, small business owners and athletes. This campaign reached 33 markets and featured a combination of hero and social films, while spanning broadcast television, digital, social, print and out-of-home.
US Marketing Campaign
Its US equivalent highlighted the rising stars of the USWNT (Mallory Pugh, Becky Sauerbrunn, Rose Lavelle, Jessica McDonald, Abby Dahlkemper and Adrianna Franch), providing a glimpse into the players’ hard work and determination as they work to defend their World Cup title.
For the Fifa Women’s World Cup France 2019, Visa expanded its Team Visa roster to include 18 new women’s soccer players from 16 countries, including: Ellie Carpenter (Australia), Christine Sinclair (Canada), Nadia Nadim (Denmark), Lucy Bronze (England), Fran Kirby (England), Nikita Parris (England), Eugenie Le Sommer (France), Dzsenifer Marozsán (Germany), Laura Giuliani (Italy), Shanice vd Sanden (Netherlands), Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway), Ewa Pajor (Poland), Kim Little (Scotland), Ramona Bachmann (Switzerland), Alexia Putellas (Spain), Kosovare Asllani (Sweden), Didem Karagenç (Turkey) and Megan Rapinoe (United States).
Since the Team Visa programme began in 2000, an average 54 per cent of Team Visa athletes have been women. The programme has supported more than 400 athletes and aims to provide them with the resources needed to achieve their goals on and off the field.
Media and Promotion
Communications efforts supported key milestones of the sponsorship’s activation, helping to spread the word of Visa’s Women’s World Cup activations and focus on women’s empowerment through:
- News announcements and global/regional press materials
- Media interviews featuring Visa executives to share the Visa story and reinforce the company’s position
- Social media amplification of news and creative assets, with additional support from onsite VIP influencers reaching global audiences
- Unveiled plans for innovative payments technology & data insights.
Key media moments leading up to the tournament included:
- December 6, 2018: Visa Expands Global Football Portfolio Connecting with Fans Around the World
- May 2, 2019: Visa Champions Women at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019
- May 30, 2019: Visa Increases Global Investment in Women’s Soccer
During the WWC
The key media moment from during the tournament was around Visa’s contactless technology (July 3, 2019: Tap to Pay Scores Big for Visa and Fans at the Fifa Women’s World Cup France 2019). Visa captured the impact of contactless at participating venues and detailed in stadium and in-host city spending for fans throughout the tournament. With the help of Natixis Payments technology, Visa ensured the best fan experience by providing 1,600 upgraded point-of-sale terminals in nine official venues, point-of-sale terminals enabled with Visa sensory branding, commemorative contactless Visa prepaid cards and payment-enabled wristbands.
Player of the Match
Visa became the first brand to sponsor the Player of the Match award during the women’s competition, which aimed to celebrate distinguished players throughout the tournament.
Fans worldwide voted on Fifa.com in each of the 52 matches during the tournament. The trophy was designed to create opportunities for fans to have a voice and contribute to the growing recognition of women’s football across the world.
To make the award experience more meaningful, Visa curated a special list of visionary women – many of whom are leading the fight for women’s rights in their fields – to present the award. Noteworthy presenters included:
- Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner
- Ibtihaj Muhammad, American Olympic medalist and member of the US Fencing Team
- Dr. Seun Adigun, Nigerian Summer and Winter Olympian
- Hope Powell, former international footballer and women’s first-team manager of Brighton & Hove Albion in England
- Abby Wambach, former US women’s national team member and World Cup Champion
- Roxana Maracineanu. French minister of sports.
Players and presenters were also recognized on Fifa.com and Fifa social channels.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 20, 2019
The success of the partnership this year was boosted by record-breaking viewership numbers for the WWC, while the news coverage and positive feedback from traditional and social media outlets, influencers and experiential marketing delivered incredible results for Visa:
- Total Stories: 300+ articles
- Visa captured top share of voice in earned media and on social
- Earned Media: 40% share of voice, followed by Adidas at 30%
- Social Media: 58% share of voice, followed by Adidas at 17%
- Message pull-through reached 56%, nearly double target
- Visa garnered a gross reach of 75.6 million
- Between @VisaNews and LinkedIn, 18 posts supporting the Fifa Women’s World Cup earned a total of 490,000 impressions and 6,500 engagements.
- Posts performed above benchmark across both platforms. The cultural relevancy and hype around the tournament boosted engagements.
- Organically, tweets earned an overall 1.27% engagement rate, 1.2x benchmark.
- On LinkedIn, posts earned an overall 1.66% organic engagement rate, over 2x benchmark. Via paid, posts performed 2.7x benchmark, earning a 1.93% paid engagement rate.