I think the most meaningful media are those that do not seem to be media—those that are so integrated into our lives that they are an extension of our ‘real life.’ They are so imperceptible that you need someone who is unconnected to ‘ad land’ to show them to you. If we think with our advertising hats on, they’re invisible.
And this is what happened to me this summer, a few weeks before the fútbol (soccer) World Cup and coinciding with the Cannes Festival. A dad had created a sticker album featuring the women fútbol players in the Spanish league. He acted alone, without help from any brands. He gathered the photos together, printed and mounted them in an album. Brilliant. Grand Prix in Media. And he had done it because his seven-year-old daughter was devoid of arguments when her classmates refused to let her play fútbol in the playground. There were no women in their sticker albums. It followed, in the logic of all the boys, that fútbol couldn’t be for girls. A sticker album is like the Bible for a Christian. If you’re not there, you don’t exist.
In a context where all brands are women-friendly, we have forgotten what matters most: initiatives that normalize the situation. According to FIFA, there are 30 million female players globally, a figure that is still low compared to the number of men who play fútbol, but one that is attracting brands all over the world.
This is why what the dad did was so valuable. Because in a context in which brands want to make inroads into this territory, we forget about the media that connect with people. Those of you who used to have a fútbol sticker album know what I’m talking about. Many of us learned to negotiate by swapping stickers after school. Opening a sticker packet is an adrenalin rush similar to opening the door to a first date. And finishing an album must be like the contradictory feeling a CEO feels upon finishing an Iron Man event: happy for having achieved the goal, but suddenly deprived of challenge. For me, this would be a good definition of meaningful.
By the way, this year, Spanish girls and boys will have a fútbol sticker album featuring both men and women.