Give it a whirl? I'm giving it the flick

08 January 2010 | 0:00 - By Jesse Fink

The A-League's advertising errs in an age when we're trying to educate footballers not to objectify women.


Campaign holes ... The A-League's misguided "Give It A Whirl" commercial.

Now, The Finktank has never been the most PC chap in the world. I collect animal heads on eBay. I leave the toilet seat up. I usually scratch my balls when I feel an itch and make no apologies for enjoying the AC/DC-like pastiche of Airbourne. But even this unreconstructed four-eyed ape can see that the new A-League ads are, well . . . a tad prehistoric.

As an esteemed colleague wrote to me in an email this morning, it's "a pretty poor effort in an age when we're trying to educate footballers and fans of football (all codes) not to objectify women. Or am I being soft?"

Nah, not soft. On the money. It's a dog of an ad.

An embarrassment, really, and offensive when you think about the amount of money that was undoubtedly spent on bringing such a garbage concept to fruition. "Give It a Whirl" is the slogan. Part of the Hyundai campaign.

The commercial is clearly aimed at the pimple-popping, Zoo Weekly/Ralph-reading young male demographic that makes up so much of the Australian football-viewing (and forum-browsing) audience but it shouldn’t simultaneously alienate everyone else, especially women, who have enough crap to deal with from us menfolk in their lives every day without going to football matches and being perved at up and down like some bikini-wearing skanks in a Snoop Dogg video.

Not that there's anything wrong with a bit of objectification, either. But there's a time and a place for it. And if you're going to go ahead and objectify women anyway, at least do it with a bit of wit or irony.

This ad has neither wit nor irony because it's not believable. I'm not aware of any club with black, red, orange and green stripes on a white background getting around in the A-League. So the choice of towel could have been better. Whirling, too, is commonly associated (at least in this country) with AFL, being made famous by Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy when he spun his jacket above his head after the Bombers' round 16 win over West Coast in 1993.

A more typical sight in Australian football crowds, and Parliament House for that matter, is stretching out a scarf above your head.

It's a quibble, of course, but such minor considerations as authenticity are what make good ads work, don't they?

And this one, in my opinion, doesn't work on any level. It smacks of being dreamed up by someone with as much understanding of football as I do of quantum mechanics. Football Federation Australia and its commercial partners have come up with some fine creative campaigns since 2005 but this is most assuredly not one of them.

Back to the drawing board, fellas.

:: For more Fink musings on the big issues in football, check out Half-time Orange on The World Game.

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Comments (48)

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15 May 2014 18:21 AEST


From: Sydney

I only care about exciting football game

I only care about exciting football game , that friend from Taiwan said yes . Multi advertising does not matter. Thailand soccer Jersey

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15 Apr 2014 19:53 AEST

Each sport will have appeared advertising

From: Taiwan

Each sport will have appeared advertising

I come from Taiwan , not the English language , here is my translation ,Each sport will have appeared advertising , football is certainly the most. Omega watches the Olympics are , each player who has the brand logo. I like football , but I do not exclude the emergence of advertising , because that money the club , the players make money. We just enjoy the football game when a little more time to wait for the ad time .thailand soccer jersey

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17 Jan 2010 14:59 AEST

Zahn (15 year old Arsenal Fanatic)

From: Newcastle

The ad isn't the only thing guilty of objectifing...

Indeed, the ad is horrible. We can all agree on that. However, I don not agree with this sentence. "The commercial is clearly aimed at the pimple-popping, Zoo Weekly/Ralph-reading young male demographic that makes up so much of the Australian football-viewing (and forum-browsing) audience" Honestly, we are not all like this. I for one want to watch football and enjoy football because it should be one of the few things free from all the sexual advertising that dominates our world today.I for one have no sexual yearnings yet, because I'm only 15 and I feel that I don't want to grow up to quick. I love football because it's fun. I love football because it's somewhere I can let my passions and energy flow into. So when I want to see football promoted, I want to see footballers being footballers; Playing the game; scoring goals; defending attacking moves. I don't want to see some random "hot" woman who was picked to do this because of some "natural boosts" and who has no idea what the hell football is.

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11 Jan 2010 11:36 AEST


From: sydney

give it a whirl...

I find it incredibly sad that such a bad commercial could be created to promote the A-League... It feels that the brief is way off and that all the people involved have no idea of the "brand" they're trying to sell... It's simply crude attempt to be eye catching that borrows heavily and unsuccessfully from some very successful previous advertising for Hahn beer... But sadly this communication doesn't charm nor amuse... It is simply flawed in it's premise... What does make it fail is the simple reason, that why would any punter cut a square out of a coloured towel (that does doesn't relate to any particular team) and then twirl it above their head at a game...? Good advertising borrows from "truths"... This doesn't. It simply makes the guy look foolish, instead of cool and fun... Sadly this spot will turn people off the game... Not on to the game...

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11 Jan 2010 11:28 AEST


From: Sydney

Give it a whirl

I love it. There should be more pretty women on TV.

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11 Jan 2010 10:17 AEST

Marcus Marritt

From: Sydney

FFA Needs To Learn Fast

I have lived in Australia since April 09, arriving with an eagerness to discover what A-League football was all about - from both a playing and organisational perspective. Granted I'm from England and never expected Premier League standards, but considering the brilliance of Australian sporting excellence I have grown up watching with a Pommie green face I was hoping for far better than what I've seen. I also happen to work as a freelance for ad agencies. I wonder exactly what the creative brief was for this ad. Surely the FFA would have looked at the problem of poor attendances blighting the league (every highlights reel and live game I have seen shows more empty seats than those filled with enthusiastic fans) and realised they need a communication strategy to attract audiences of all ages and gender. When the English FA looked to address the problem of crowd violence at football games in the 80s/early 90s the focus going forward was to create a more family friendly atmosphere at games, to ensure football fans do not feel scared when attending games - away from the fear of yobbish behaviour and foul language creating a very uncomfortable environment to watch football. The result from this - consistently sold out games in the Premier League, The Championship and Coca Cola Leagues. And the benefits of higher attendances? More money into the game which can be used for greater facilities, better coaching structures for the youth and higher wages to attract a different class of footballer (or at least to prevent your best Australian footballers moving overseas to better themselves). I dont mean to stain the A-League with the same blackness English football suffered with crown violence, far from it, I merely hope to state that the same rule can be applied - to increase awareness, enjoyment and crowd attendances at games the FFA needs to be attracting families. This piece of communication tripe that has been produced is far removed from what is needed. I dont see what this ad can possibly achieve. Shock and surprise is what I'm left with when I consider how fantastic Australian sport is considered concerning organisation and 'how things should be done' - if the London 2012 Olympics are close to the level of the Sydney games I'll be a proud Englishman - but the standards around the Hyundai A League have left me vastly disappointment. The FFA need not be surprised that the only football shirts they see kids wearing around the streets are from Europe - the only place I ever see a Sydney FC shirt or any other A-League franchise is on display in Rebel Sports (and at over inflated prices too). Thats enough from this winging Pom!

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11 Jan 2010 9:55 AEST


From: Bondi


Pathetic and no imagination, not the agency fault but the executives who approve it

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11 Jan 2010 9:46 AEST


From: Melbourne

She is Hot !!!!

If I had a girl like that, I would be at home "giving it a whirl" & not at the soccer

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11 Jan 2010 8:31 AEST


From: Sydney

Every Ad has been a dud

I have in another forum been a regular critic of the ads that the FFA have brought out for both the A League and the Socceroos. I can;t comment about the above as i have not seen it yet but from the screenshot i think it is the same problem. I think the advertising campaigns should be made to watch the movie (or read the book) Fever Pitch and then told, thats what we want. The FFA seems to not have realised that ads that work for businesses will not work for football. Instead of showing these slick, cool, funky ads they need to focus on emotion, tribalism and passion. They need to encourage people to see any one of the teams as their team. They need to encourage an emotional attachment to the team (not the league which is another problem).

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11 Jan 2010 7:06 AEST


From: sydney

who's that girl?

Anybody know her name? She is hot!

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About this Blog

The Finktank is more of what you've come to expect from Jesse Fink, The World Game's enfant terrible, but with a bent on the big issues in sport. No sport, no personality, no subject, is off limits. 

Jesse Fink Jesse Fink is one of Australia's most popular football writers and sports columnists. He is the author of the book 15 Days in June: How Australia Became a Football Nation (Hardie Grant, $29.95) and writes twice a week as "Half-Time Orange" for The World Game and weekly for ESPN Star Sports in Singapore. He lives in Sydney.