“Ladyball” was a spoof – but all too believable

ladyballSo I fell for it?  Do you blame me?  More experienced and knowledgeable people than I did the same.

And when it was revealed as a wind-up, all part of the marketing campaign for women’s Gaelic football, I experienced a confused mixture of feelings.

Mostly I castigated myself for falling for it, while part of me was cheering for its sheer audacity.

However, in the cold light of day, my abiding thought is how sad it is that the whole idea was so believable.    Actually, it’s not just sad, but shameful.

The Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association, in conjunction with sponsors Lidl, have admitted they were behind the campaign:

“Lidl and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) will next week announce details of a partnership which will see the brand become the Official Retail Partner to the LGFA and the title sponsors of the Lidl Ladies National Football League, as well as grassroots activity.

“The fabricated product and associated 360 degree marketing campaign was designed by Lidl, with the support of the LGFA, to put the spotlight on women in sport in Ireland and raise awareness of the difficulties female sports persons have in getting the same recognition as their male counterparts.”

In this quote the last sentence is the most telling.  It’s all true, and anyone who has read my work for any length of time will know it is the issue that vexes me the most.  So when I reported on the Ladyball in my blog, I said,

“Is it an elaborate spoof?  I would like to think so, but I fear not…..I’m still hoping someone will inform me that it’s a wind-up”

Now I’m left wondering whether people are going to spend more time congratulating Lidl on the cleverness of their campaign than thinking about the actual points it was aiming to raise.

So yes, as EM Forster would have it, two cheers for the marketing campaign and for bringing sexism in sport into the limelight one more time, but I’ll reserve that last cheer for the moment when this approach isn’t necessary.