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
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.