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Special Project

Special Project

The Social Swap

Entered in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, X (formerly Twitter)



Gender stereotypes and prejudice mean that female sports pundits face a disproportionate amount of discrimination and hateful comments on social media when sharing their football views. This creates a toxic and uncomfortable environment for fans and professionals.

Heineken® believes that sports should be enjoyable and inclusive for everyone. As the official sponsor for both the Women’s and Men’s UEFA Champion Leagues, Heineken® want to challenge the gender biases in football and help stop these toxic online behaviours. 

The UEFA club finals in May & June 2023 provided the perfect opportunity to tackle the issue.


Develop an earned activation around the UEFA club finals (May/June 2023) to raise awareness around gender inequality in football


Idea: The Social Swap.

We had two of Britain’s most famous ex-footballers and football commentators, Jill Scott and Gary Neville, comment on X during five UEFA Champions League Matches.

Secretly, Gary and Jill switched social media accounts and commented from each other’s handles, so their opinions appeared to come from each other.

As predicted, Jill Scott’s account received five times more sexist comments than Gary Neville’s, including remarks like ‘Get back in the kitchen’.

Later we revealed the stunt to press & public (film & release), exposing gender biases and championing Heineken’s® belief that football is for all fans.


Target audience:


Relevance to platform:


Gary Neville and Jill Scott MBE shared their opinions about football matches from each other’s X accounts over five days and matches.

We recorded the sentiment and any sexist abuse responses.

A hero film explained the social swap, revealing the results of the experiment to fans around the world and tackling the issue with humour and clarity.

We ran an earned-centric amplification strategy across 35 markets, which included broadcast exclusives, in-depth interviews with talent, newswires, content creator outreach and media partnerships with global news titles Including BuzzFeed, HuffPost and

Heineken® wanted to go further and improve the online environment on social media for all fans.

We purchased 5000 licenses for AI-powered moderation tool Arwen and made these available for fans to download, allowing them to filter out sexist and racists comments from their own feeds.

A campaign microsite facilitated the distribution of Arwen licences to fans.


The Social Swap became one of Heineken®’s most talked about campaigns of the year. The results were triple those of its previous football campaign and included significant increases in international coverage. It led to important conversations about gender bias regarding women in football and helped open the door for more women to participate.


•          8% more women joined football conversations on Twitter after the campaign*

Coverage & Reach

•          7,800 Mentions across online news and social media (2,800 above target)

•          94% Neutral to positive sentiment (9% above target)

•          122K Engagements

•          1.4B+ Impressions (280% vs. KPI)

•          35+ countries (350% vs. target)

Brand Perception

Survey data showed a 230% increase amongst women in the belief that ‘Heineken Promotes Diversity & Inclusion’

Paid Social

•          226M Impressions

•          77M Campaign film Views at 100% completion

•          42% Completion rate

Organic Social

•          1.6M Film views

•          2,700 Engagements

*Measured tracking two key female football conversation hashtags, pre and post campaign.

1. #womeninfootball: 8% increase in female users using it after the campaign: March-May 23 at 39% female users vs June-Sept 23 at 47% female users

2. #womensfootball: 7% increase from 28% female to 35% female


Video for The Social Swap

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Edelman & Le Pub, Heineken®


Entry Credits