PERSPECTIVE: It would be foolish to ignore the World Cup’s female fans

A top media agency chief called me last week brandishing a spare ticket to an England World Cup game in his sweaty mitt. Great. Unfortunately, it turned out the caller was merely ringing to see if I thought a male colleague would fancy an all-expenses-paid trip to France to watch the match.

A top media agency chief called me last week brandishing a spare

ticket to an England World Cup game in his sweaty mitt. Great.

Unfortunately, it turned out the caller was merely ringing to see if I

thought a male colleague would fancy an all-expenses-paid trip to France

to watch the match.



Why hadn’t he thought to invite me to the game? Does he bear me a grudge

over something I’ve written, am I possessed of a less than sparkly

personality, do I have excruciating personal habits, is he worried I’ll

turn out on the terraces in Manolos and a mini?



All perfectly understandable reasons for deciding not to invite me. But

it seems the reason I’ve been overlooked is because I’m female. ’I

didn’t think you’d be interested in football,’ was the sheepish response

to my indignation.



OK, I’m not the sort of woman who downs a pint without drawing breath, I

do have the odd pair of spikey stilettos and a short skirt or two

lurking in the recesses of my wardrobe, and I’m more likely to spend

Saturday afternoons in Oxford Street than at Stamford Bridge.



But this is the World Cup, for God’s sake. I might not have followed the

fortunes of some hapless Midlands team since I was out of nappies, but I

know damn well who to support when it comes to international

football.



The off-side rule is no more of a mystery to me than to the average man

in the street and I’ve become intimate with half the England squad, so

much have they become part of tabloid life.



I’m intent on catching the mood of the summer, being part of a national

feeling, joining in and following the England team and I’m annoyed that

my man with the ticket can’t see that. But if I were his client, or a

client of any of the other numerous agencies who seem to have decided

against booking spots in the football coverage, I think I would be

rather concerned. What a missed opportunity.



I don’t watch a lot of TV but I’ve been watching the World Cup and, as

the England games kick in, I’ll be watching more. Research released last

week from Laser Sales showed all too clearly that women’s interest in

the World Cup is likely to be higher than most agencies (and their male

TV buyers) have anticipated.



I’m keeping my eyes open for the brave and switched-on advertisers who

target me in the football coverage. Not only will they stand out but I

bet they’ll also reach more young, upmarket females than they would in

some black-and-white weepie on another channel. And I come to that

conclusion without acres of media research or years of media buying

expertise. Sometimes it helps to be a woman.



Thanks, by the way, to the switched-on guys at ITV and Eurosport who

have invited me to France to see England play Romania and Columbia. The

media owners, at least, seem to know what women like me want.



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