This is a story about influencers, sexism and turning a blind eye.
Football media publisher Copa90 have decided to delete a promotional video for their coverage of the women’s world cup.
For those who don’t know get to know. Nah…Copa90 is a YouTube channel come football media company with lofty aspirations of becoming the definitive voice of football. Their valuation is currently £70million. It was all going so well.
The decision-to-delete was made following an online backlash. The backlash can be attributed to two things:
1. Copa 90s historic depiction of women in old videos.
2. The “historic” tweets of one of their main presenters.
Football365’s article goes into more than enough depth on the unquestionably offensive content. I recommend going there to witness to the full extent of this car crash.
It should be stated that the presenter in question (Poet) has swiftly published an apology that conveys a sense of remorse and embarrassment.
That’s fine. Hopefully his apology is sincere and he reflects on his actions to better himself.
Copa90 on the other hand. Naughty naughty.
For one, the now deleted promotional video felt like opportunistic piggy-backing. All style no substance.
Sexism. “It’s bullshit” proclaims Eli Mengem (voice of a generation). Well done Ellie. These sentiments feel more fitting of lyrics from a Flight of the Concords song.
Copa90’s error wasn’t in attempting to cover the women’s world cup, or even profit from it. That’s what a business is supposed to do.
Their error was in positioning themselves as some sort of evangelical saviour that only extols the most virtuous values.
Clearly this isn’t the case.
Ultimately Copa90s audience has been built leveraging YouTubers and influencers (including KSI, Poet and Vuj).
But they’re also incredibly popular with lots of young people.
Copa90 have tapped into this audience to create the CopaFam (an audience over 1 million strong on YouTube).
At the same time they’ve attempted to build a brand with a very different image.
They position themselves as industry leaders. And paint a stylish and idealistic picture of the ‘modern football fan‘. A fan with liberal views and an appetite for insightful, exciting and cool content.
Documentary series like Derby Days (Which are very well produced by the way), attempt to distance the brand from their influencer routes.
They are what they’d like the brand to be. Rather than the Jeckyl and Hyde channel it actually is.
The audience and engagement has been built on influencers playing Fifa (and chilling) rather than ground breaking cutting edge content. Once again that’s fine.
What isn’t fine is the dishonesty of it all.
In an equally vacuous post, Head of Copa90 James Kirkham posted a number of screenshots from one of their (un-insightful) research pieces next to articles reporting on the racist abuse of Raheem Sterling.
The post felt like Kirkham was patting himself and his company on the back for identifying woke football fans…rather than actually engaging with the trauma Raheem Sterling and his England team mates had and will continue to suffer. Opportunism and piggy-back marketing at its finest.
Copa90 aren’t the first business to build a smoke and mirrors brand. And they won’t be the last.
Nor are they unique in their willingness to work with talent that don’t quite match their brand values.
Jeremy Clarkson had to punch a senior producer in the face before the BBC finally took their bigoted cash cow to the slaughter.
R.Kelly alleged abuse of a long list of women was seemingly enabled by an equally long list of people with a vested interest in the singer’s record sales.
When there’s money to be made, we’re all capable of such complicity.
Copa90s own goal is spectacularly underwhelming and to be expected.
Remember, it wasn’t so long ago that Soccer AM had ‘soccerettes’ (great age), and offered audiences the opportunity to watch paint dry versus the womens FA Cup final. Oh how times have changed.
Hopefully Copa produce some content over the summer that reaches a new audience.
I just wish they had tried to promote it with a bit more humility.