FIFA, the international soccer federation, has released its official poster of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
It’s an artistic rendering of a woman looking up serenely as her long flowing locks are swept away from her face in graceful curves.
It’s gorgeous, but there’s a problem: It’s missing the soccer.
Most of the poster’s real estate is devoted to the woman’s freely floating hair – a laughable impracticality for a 90-minute contact sport.
Yes, there is a partial soccer ball floating above the woman’s head (or is that the sun? or both? Oh, the metaphors), but the woman’s expression is void of the intensity of heading in a last second, equalizer goal in the quarterfinal game, as U.S. player Abby Wambach did in 2011 against Brazil.
That year, the poster featured a dot matrix silhouette of a woman – with a short ponytail – mid bicycle kick.
Putting aside the marketing failure of a soccer poster that is more pretty than soccer, FIFA is not making much headway in reversing the perceptions that it is an organization that isn’t female-friendly.
In 2004, FIFA president Sepp Blatter suggested that an outfit change, specifically tighter shorts, would help increase the popularity of women’s soccer.
"Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men – such as playing with a lighter ball,” Blatter said. “That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?"
By comparison, the official poster for the men’s world cup this year features opponent’s legs battling for a ball. It’s active, not passive. But more than that, the men’s poster focuses on the sport, not the aesthetics of the players.
That’s the goal FIFA keeps missing.