Fans Can’t Get Enough of This Viral French World Cup Ad

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PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 28: Eugenie Le Sommer of France Women  during the  World Cup Women  match between France  v USA  at the Parc des Princes on June 28, 2019 in Paris France (Photo by Geert van Erven/Soccrates/Getty Images)

It’s a grossly misguided yet common sentiment among soccer fans and officials alike that the men’s game is more entertaining and skillful than the women’s. Even the US Soccer Federation famously wrote in a 2020 court filing — while disputing the US Women’s National Team’s gender discrimination lawsuit, no less — that women soccer players are less skilled and their work is less demanding than the men’s.

Thankfully, a new French ad for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup found the perfect way to disprove that misconception. The ad was created by a Bastille-based creative agency named Marcel for French telecom company Orange and released in late June, and it has since gone viral on TikTok as fans react to the genius way it faced the myth head-on.

The video starts out with a compilation of video clips showing the French men’s national team in action on the soccer field, including fancy footwork, speedy maneuvers, and impressive goals. The video spotlights players Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé set to building music and edge-of-your-seat announcing from French commentators.

Then, the game video stops and a text card appears on screen, reading, “Only les Bleus can give us these emotions,” using the country’s nickname for the French men’s national team, “But that’s not them you’ve just seen.” The video then scrubs backward to reveal that the match clips were actually of women’s players; the men’s faces and bodies were digitally overlayed using visual effects to create a deepfake. Those moments of prowess on the field weren’t the French men’s team, but the women’s.

At the end, another text card appears, reading, “At Orange, when we support les Bleus, we support les Bleues,” the latter being the nickname for the French women’s national team.

“This is how you get people, a nation, behind your team,” says Lauren Markwith, a soccer commentator and social media manager, in a TikTok video sharing the ad. “Obviously, France did phenomenal in the men’s [2022] World Cup, but the women are also powerhouses. . . at the beginning, I was like, ugh, another men’s commercial, right before the World Cup, but just watch . . . I literally have like goosebumps,” she adds at the end — and, same.

@lo_mark

Replying to @4aani #greenscreenvideo This is how you promote women’s soccer. #womenssoccer #worldcup #france

♬ original sound – Lauren Markwith

As the USWNT head into the 2023 FIFA World Cup with a chance at snagging their third win in a row, the momentum around women’s sports seems to be reaching a fever pitch. This extends outside of soccer, including, for example, the record-breaking viewership of the NCAA Women’s Final Four in March. This ad out of France proves that the hype goes beyond US soil, too. In fact, this year’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand is poised to be the biggest ever, with CBS already reporting record-breaking ticket sales for this year’s tournament, and the prize money being significantly higher than ever before.

There’s still a long way to go as far as equality is concerned (that record-high prize money is still a fraction of the men’s), but this genius French ad is doing a solid part in helping us get there.

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