Pic by Arfa

The Women’s World Cup drew record viewing figures during its opening weekend, with England’s victory over Scotland going down as the most watched women’s football match in UK history, peaking at 6.1m viewers.

InsiderSport caught up with FootballMedia CEO Dean Akinjobi, an agency that specialises in sponsorships and activations in women’s football, he emphasised the importance of sending the correct messages with activations, as well as how club partners can build on the momentum of the women’s world cup.

InsiderSport: Can you tell us about the thought process behind the penalty shootout sponsorship activation involving ZO and West Ham?

Dean Akinjobi: The thought process behind this sponsorship activation was to create a platform to showcase women’s confidence.

Having the confidence to step up and take a penalty is one of the most testing and challenging times for a player during a match, we’ve all witnessed the nerve racking moments over the years when players have had to take penalties during a tournament and the confidence it requires to actually step up to take a penalty, therefore, we decided to use this match scenario to showcase women’s confidence through football.

There is also a direct emotive synergy with West Ham United Women’s team and penalties, having shown great confidence this season to win an FA Cup semi-final match against Reading in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

With the wide range of nationalities that West Ham United Women’s team have in their squad, including three members going to the World Cup, representing Scotland, Canada and South Korea, we decided to create the #ZOCONFIDENT international penalty challenge featuring Europe v The Rest of the World, to link into the Women’s World Cup theme and to showcase the level of diversity and inclusivity in Women’s football, with a focus on promoting confidence for all Women.

InsiderSport: How important is it that activations in Women’s Football are catered to the game’s demographic?

Dean Akinjobi: I think it is important that the activations in Women’s Football are catered to the games demographic as at this moment in time, brands in Women’s Football have a very unique opportunity and responsibility to make a positive long lasting impact on Women and girls by supporting the growth of the game through many different ways, be that through the development of girls grassroots football to inspire the next generation of Women’s Football players, encouraging Women’s confidence or developing and promoting equality for Women and girls through football.    

InsiderSport: What can you do to build on the momentum of the Women’s World Cup and can we expect any further World Cup themed activations?

Dean Akinjobi: We will be doing many things to build on the momentum of the Women’s World Cup, for ZO Skin Health and brands in general it’s important to be part of the conversation, stay on brand, have fun during key World Cup moments and be in and around relevant World Cup content, with that in mind, ZO will be engaging further activity on Womensfootball.co.uk and the wider Football Media platform of sites and social media channels as part of its Women’s World Cup activation strategy.

InsiderSport: How big an impact do you believe England’s potential success could have on the commercial growth of the game in the UK?

Dean Akinjobi: England’s potential success would be an enormous game changing moment for the commercial growth of the game in the UK. It would exponentially accelerate the growth rate of the game in the UK both on and off the pitch in ways that we’ve never seen before, British success in the Olympics over recent years has helped to change the commercial and audience landscape of various sports that were not really on a growth curve, so to have England success at the Women’s World Cup, especially at a time when Women’s Football is currently experiencing one of its biggest growth curves, would be truly immense for the commercial side of the game in the UK.