Amstel Malta presents a Super Falcons ad that fails to inspire

This is one in the series of my reviews of television commercials involving sports and corporate brands

Women’s football is gaining corporate support worldwide ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France this month. Several super brands are reaching out to the huge demographic that supports women’s football by placing their names in the conversation through engaging communication. And several have done it successfully.

Advertising around women’s football has been done by some brands as cause marketing. Commerzbank took the German women’s football team into the heart of the global conversation by countering the misogyny and prejudice they have faced over the years. It drew on the fact that the most successful European women’s national team is hardly known by Germans. In a one and a half minute spot, it calls out those who overlook them and succeeds in leaving a message that this team is one to watch at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Coca-Cola selected six leading women players from around the world and spotlighted their stories of triumph against the odds. One of the players is Nigeria striker and captain Desire Oparanozie speaks about how her journey at the World Cup will inspire young girls back home and around the world to play football and fulfil their dreams.

The BCC also launched a Change the Game campaign that draws on the strength of the best women footballers from around the world who work hard at making a name for themselves. The ad is supported by a soundtrack Remember the Name performed by rapper Ms Banks.

At home, Amstel Malta’s opportunity to activate its sponsorship of the Super Falcons has left me with mixed emotions. It opens with four Nollywood actresses/musicians seated at a bar without a tender and five Super Falcons players saunter into the bar in uncomfortable evening dresses. One of the players makes a double Thanos finger snap and they appear in more comfortable jerseys and boots. They are invited to have drinks in a hail of hi-fives full of cringe-worthy acting. A male movie star crashes the party and reveals he’s wearing the national team jersey. He’s invited to the party as they swig from Amstel Malta bottles. Pay off: All roads lead to France.

Firstly, the one-minute advert perpetuates the same prejudices that women’s sports have faced over the decades. In portraying the women footballers as unfashionable in evening dress, it says that there’s no place for sportswomen in the world of glamour and fashion. This sends a message to young girls that they cannot attain glamour through playing sport. That they cannot fit into society’s standards of beauty unless they are music and movie stars. In contrast, we know that some of the most glamorous women and models in the world are sports stars.

This ad also seems to riff its “We’ve got balls” title off the German women’s commercial launched earlier in May. The German women state that “we may not have balls but we know how to play them”. The Amstel Malta title is eerily similar.

The use of Amstel Malta’s array of female music and movie ambassadors confuses the message. Are you celebrating the women’s footballers or comparing them to the celebrities? This mixed message leaves the campaign all over the place. It would have just been better to tell simple stories of triumph as the Falcons head out to France, stories that can inspire young girls to pick up a football. We cannot get enough of inspirational stories on our TV and digital channels. Sport is about triumph against adversity. It is about these girls who were never expected to become much who are now the pillars of their families. They are riding the best cars and living in big homes because they chased their passion. And now they have an opportunity to once again represent their country on the global stage. Simple.

It is important that sponsors get their communication right. Despite the fact that Amstel Malta is one of the few local brands to put its weight behind the Super Falcons, this advert fails to chime with me and I daresay many discerning members of the public. It is at most poorly thought through and hurriedly shot.

One is left assaulted by the lack of creativity in the commercial. It lacks a proper message and misses the point, which is to inspire support for the Super Falcons, Nigeria’s most successful national football team, as they go to the World Cup in France.

However, I praise Amstel Malta for taking over the cover of the Guardian Life magazine’s May 26 edition with the photo of the campaign. Even then, it does not allow the players of the Falcons to be the centre of attraction. It is like the brand cannot trust them enough to carry the campaign alone.

Still, even working with the Falcons shows a brand that is willing to activate its sponsorship across several platforms. We need more sponsors to explore the full spectrum of their rights. Brands are not doing enough with the sponsorship rights they possess.


TVC Shot by Kemi Adetiba

Photography: Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko


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15 thoughts on “Amstel Malta presents a Super Falcons ad that fails to inspire

  1. I stand to be corrected but Amstel Malta is a premium brand and has usually had glamour themes attached to its ads. So if its by that, the Super Falcons ad isn’t out of place. I think it’s just unfortunate we don’t have other sponsors that can pass that message of hope, thriving in adversity and rising above obscurity and challenges. Other soft drink brands, banks, e-commerce platforms and even motor vehicles could do better in that regard.

    1. its out of place…aren’t they women? things like this will cause controversy…just wait until “feminists” lash out

  2. I agree to some part of this critic. For instance, why give them ill-fitting dresses. Also, if you were going with the theme of glamour, couldn’t they have been introduced and carried the page alone as they are currently the centre of Attraction.
    All the same, Amstel has engaged so hopefully other companies can tell better stories.

    Welldone on the write-up.

  3. Thank you so much. I wasn’t comfortable either with how they portrayed the Super Falcons as ladies that are only comfortable in playing gears and not in an evening outing attire. But i was caught up with the existence of the ad which is a plus for Amstel.

  4. Thank you for this piece. I had great reservation against why glamour was separated from them being the falcon ladies. Saw this on Instagram stories and came searching because I was so curious. Based on comments so far, major highlights have been on the celebrity artists and actors which to me masks the whole essence of the ad.

  5. I saw an invisible hand toss a can of Amstel drink o!
    Seriously, this is a well laid out review of the as
    Amstel can definitely do better.
    E just be like woman matter story- I slay pass you, I rock my designer Pass. Competitive jealousy

  6. Thanks for sharing this. I had my reservations but I was pleased to see that a brand, at least is supporting the women’s team. With that being said, I think it’s not really the fault of the brand but the creative though behind the advert. That includes the advertising agency responsible and the product team. It would be nice to get Kemi Adetiba’s thought on this. Though we deserve more, Thanks Amstel Malta. It’s a small step in the right direction.

  7. Lolade, you couldn’t be more correct. I watched the advert and my first reaction was, “this advert is discriminatory”. One of the popular rules of advertising is that the message should be single-minded. This one as you said, “is all over the place.”

  8. Valid point, Lolade – and valid only when juxtaposed with the cultural context of Nigeria.

    I think that the Amstel Malta brand was only trying to hitch a ride on the “Feminism Train” and quite rightly too. Should we continue to define women by how they fit into (pun intended) our dinner dress-wearing, ‘Brazilian hair-toting’, makeup and lipstick-smearing stereotypes? If these ladies feel more comfortable in a football jersey then so be it. They do not have to (and should not be made to) fit into dinner dresses to prove their femininity.

    To be honest, these ladies are at the forefront of pushing the equality message – they are actually doing just as well (or as badly – depending on your point of view) as their male counterparts.

    What no one appears to be talking about is what the guy is doing in the ad.

  9. Finally, seeing a piece that shared my line of thought as regards this discriminating advert. It’s a case of trying to pass a message across and contradicting yourself by passing another. Unfortunately, Nollywood sure took the central attention. Notwithstanding a big thank you to amstel Malta for supporting this gallant ladies.

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