VFX Trick Play: French Telecom Orange Boosts Equality for Women's Soccer

Illustrating that women players are just as skillful as men

Through a bit of high-tech smoke and mirrors, telecom giant Orange aims to demonstrate gender equality in soccer. 

The company tasked Marcel with creating a campaign to challenge the perception that women's football isn't as thrilling or technically proficient as the men's game.

The result: a short film that initially deep-fakes viewers into believing they are watching a compilation of action from the French men's national team. At first, skillful moves from faves such as Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann abound. 

Soon, however, the perspective shifts, and we realize it's actually a compilation featuring Sarkina Karchaoui, Selma Bacha and other stars of the women's national team.

To craft the 2-minute clip, Marcel sifted through footage from more than 80 men's and women's contests—with an average duration of 95 minutes apiece.

"Although attitudes are changing, especially thanks to the 2019 Women's FIFA World Cup held in France, we quickly realized that in TV shows, comments on social media, or conversations heard in bars, the discourse surrounding women's football is still catastrophic, sexist, and full of prejudices that have no place in 2023," says Margaux Grenouilloux, strategic planner at Marcel.

"We knew that football fans always disagreed on many topics: clubs, players, predictions, the level of women's teams," Grenouilloux says. "But we knew that there was one thing they never questioned: beautiful technical skills. The love for skillful plays that garner millions and millions of views on streaming platforms, with 'best-of' videos on specialize channels followed by countless football fans."

According to the High Council for Gender Equality, sexism persists in France, and its most violent manifestations are worsening. Despite the #MeToo movement, sexist stereotypes remain prevalent. Among men aged 25 to 34, nearly a quarter believe that violence is sometimes necessary to earn respect, and 40 percent find it normal for women to stop working to care for their children.

The same research says that 80 percent of women feel they are treated worse than men because of their gender. 

Against that backdrop, Orange's goal is to support efforts that focus on protection and enforcement, but also to address mindsets from a young age.

The work was done over the course of a year, with a production phase totaling five months. "Compil des Bleues" (or "Blues Compilation") launched last week, ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, taking place in Australia and New Zealand from July 20-Aug 20.

The campaign runs through the duration of the event and targets fans on platforms maintained by L'Équipe, BeIN Sports, Foot Mercato and the Fédération Française de Football. Influencers across YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat are also taking part.

The video has been shared by current and former players from both the women's and men's national teams, various sports personalities, and the French Minister of Sports.

Shahnaz Mahmud
Shahnaz Mahmud is a contributing writer to Muse by Clio.

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