It’s been a little less than 24 hours since Arsenal’s slick-as-hell advert by new kit sponsor adidas was “leaked” and the hype train has already hit warp speed. The ad has it all: Arsenal legends, celebrities, slick cinematography, and a cadre of Arsenal’s resident coolest players: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and part-time model Hector Bellerin. It even includes Arsenal’s top striker Vivianne Miedema in a chip shop for a second, the sole visible representative for Arsenal’s women’s side in the whole spot.
While the ad is very fun and exciting, it could have done more for Arsenal’s other imprints, especially the women's team. In total, Miedema’s brief cameo is dwarfed by most of the featured cast. Sure, the first team are always going to be the driving force behind ticket sales and merchandising, but right now, the first team is currently Arsenal’s most underachieving team in the club. The ad, as cool as it is, is a nice and shiny diversion from the fact that the first team is in a bit of disarray.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s women’s team just finished an historic season in the FA Women’s Super League. With the help of Miedema’s 22 goals (which she scored over the course of just 20 matches, btw), the women's team won the WSL for the first time since 2012, becoming the winningest club in the competition.
While Miedema is the goal-scoring talisman for the women’s team and an obvious choice for inclusion in the ad, she’s not the only player of note on the women’s side. At the beginning of the women’s World Cup which kicked off two weeks ago, Arsenal had 10 players in the game’s most prestigious international competition, including Beth Mead, Kim Little, and Danielle Van de Donk, whose teams are all still in contention for the trophy.
Sports advertising is a “strike while the iron is hot” industry. Waves of hype and prominence are ridden to maximize profits before being dumped for whatever and whoever else is more marketable. While women’s soccer might not be the draw that men’s soccer is, it’s rising global relevance and prominence, especially with the World Cup taking place, could have and probably should have been a bit more of a priority for a club whose women’s side is one of the best in the world.
Failing to capitalize on the success of their women’s side while the World Cup is taking place won’t hurt the club’s bottom line, but it was an opportunity missed to put the women where they belong: center stage alongside their first team counterparts.