NWSL – What Do College Sport Marketing Students Think of the “Pass the Ball” Campaign?

So the NWSL came out with an ad featuring a collection of celebrities dubbed the “Pass the Ball” campaign. Fans on the internet had some spicy takes in reaction to the ad, with some serious negative feedback in some circles.

But what do college sport marketing students think of the ad? I showed the ad to about thirty of my sport marketing students and asked for their opinions. The students in question are upperclassmen, with more than a few soccer fans. Here’s what they said:

I thought it was a good advertisement. I really like the celebrity they chose. Also, the slogan is a good one.

I liked how males were in it too and that made it more effective for me

I liked the advertisement. I think it does a good job advertising women soccer

It works but it is a little cheesy, it would work better to show some highlights or maybe have some of the players talk too. It is not very outrageous or out there in a marketing sense.

I thought it was a nice ad that clearly stated what it was fighting for

The commercial has more of a feel good story instead of showing the talent of these female athletes that were being hyped up. To nail home the point, you need more than just celebrity testimonials.

I liked the advertisement, I thought they did a good job of using star power to capture the audiences attention

The ad has undeniable star power. Also, the “pass the ball” from one screen to the next is a creative and interactive tactic

The celebrities are well liked so it makes it more likely that the audience would like and listen to the campaign

I thought that the video was very good, there were stars to look to as well as males which made it better for a male audience.

The advertisement promotes a positive message encouraging women to follow their dreams. I support the message being conveyed and I believe it was done in an easy to understand method. Additionally, the use of sports icons across a variety of levels of competition adds to the validity of the message.

…it was very influential in promoting change. It had a ton of star power with the celebrities it chose to be in it, and having both huge male and female stars makes it impactful for all genders.

The ad allowed for fans to relate and understand the underlying message

I believe that the marketers behind the making of that campaign for the NWSL used a great deal of star power and getting well known celebrities to show the importance of women’s rights and how they are standing up for it whether they are male or female

I think David Beckham in the video is a very large presence because he’s one of the most recognizable soccer players of this generation. Him supporting the playoffs will certainly get fans to pay attention to the ad and possibly the playoffs itself

It was good getting David Beckam, a workd famous male soccer player, featured in the campaign. He’s recognized in the US and respected as an athlete.

I liked it. There aren’t many women’s sports that are being talked about positively, so it was cool to see them to refer to them as amazing athletes instead of female athletes.

The video Ellen and Julia Roberts highlights the importance of strong female role models for all children. I liked that they included men who say that they believe it is important to empower women so that their daughters/sisters/mothers can achieve any goal they want to.

I think this advertisement is promoting audience to bond together for celebrating the events, and to encourage everyone to engage in the sport events.

I thought that the advertisement was an interesting idea. I feel that having celebrities involved caught my attention. It was not really anything outrageous in terms of how it was marketed, seeing that tons of commercials for different leagues/companies utilize celebrities to help their cause

The ad did a great job of incorporating people who aren’t soccer players, the ad reached out to everyone not just athletes

James Corden had the wrong soccer ball so that threw the whole “pass the ball” thing off

The celebrities help make this advertisement a good one, really shows a great example of star power.

The commercial did a good job of getting celebrities from different areas of entertainment. I think it did a good job of relaying the message

Overall, using star athletes as well as celebrities showing not only the importance for womens soccer but empowering women across the board. The ad targeted women well, but also men using james and david to show that men should care about womens rights and soccer. Pass the ball is a powerful way of showing that we can all make a difference and a great slogan to encompass change, responsibility and soccer.

It seemed to be more focused on issues surrounding women’s sports rather than the actual competition they were trying to promote. The ad didn’t give a reason why the NWSL should be supported other than the fact that it was populated by female athletes.

Ad had a lot of star power, I feel that they could have incorporated more actual footage or involvement from NWSL players, otherwise people connect to the celebrities more than the league itself.

I think the usage of soccer stars like David Beckham and other celebrities was smart but it doesn’t really do much to expand the reach of the NWSL. I imagine that this league’s target market is centered around soccer moms and young girls, and if they are trying to expand their base, daytime television stars are not the people to do so,

I liked how they incorporated well known figures, not just women, but men as well to show support for the womens league. Use of David Beckham was smart due to his success as a well known soccer star

This ad does a great job bringing in star power (Ellen, Beckham,….). Does a great job promoting that women’s soccer is just as talented as the mens sports. Shows that star men (beckham) are supporting their female counterparts.

I liked how through the campaign they added meaningfulness to soccer by asking who do you pass the ball for. They didn’t just try to hype you up by showing cool highlights from the year, which was different from a lot of leagues videos to promote championships.

I thought the star power was cool- but like someone else said I wish they had used at least 1 recognizable female athlete, specifically soccer.

3 thoughts on “NWSL – What Do College Sport Marketing Students Think of the “Pass the Ball” Campaign?

  1. Terri Harris

    I did not think much of the ad. I sent it to my daughter who is a senior at the University of Texas majoring in sports media and told her it was getting criticisms and sent her some of the responses. Her response was: “I don’t get the criticism, yes they should have probably featured some NWSL players but the point of the ad isn’t to get people to watch the games, it is purely social marketing.” After the ad, NWSL gained 1.1K more followers on twitter. So, it did the job from her perspective of its purpose. This shows in my opinion the difference of someone of my age (56 – raised without social media) and millennials and how media is used and perceived. Interesting.

  2. DebbyS

    What is it advertising? Is it to get people to watch more women’s soccer, or to get more girls involved in sports, or something else — a feel-good ad about girl power? I don’t know, I think it’s a bit of a nothing burger.

    1. mockmook

      It seemed like an unfocused mess to me (if its job was to get people to watch the NWSL).

      Surprising that his students were almost unanimously positive about it.

      However, that positivity certainly wasn’t reflected in the Playoff/Finals viewing numbers.


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