A new soccer ball called the ‘Ladyball,’ purportedly designed specifically for women by a group of entrepreneurs who want to encourage women to take up team sports, was derided by critics on social media as ridiculous and sexist. But the hard-to-believe item, it turns out, is part of a publicity stunt cooked up by Lidl, a retailer in Ireland, with an eye toward getting people talking about Gaelic soccer. Before the big reveal on Friday, marketing promotions said the bright pink ball is “painstakingly designed to go with every woman’s wardrobe,” and boasts a “high gloss pink exterior” designed “especially for a woman’s unique grip.” Former Dublin soccer player, Ger Brennan, who has appeared as a spokesman for the product, says that women’s participation in sports has been increasing, but more so in solitary activities like swimming and running than in team sports. “I’m happy to endorse anything that encourages participation,” says Brennan. “Just don’t expect me to play like a lady!” There was some debate over whether the ball, which had been promoted in Ireland but wasn’t available for sale, was a genuine product or an elaborate PR stunt. Sure enough, a website that was dormant came to life and the Ladyball Twitter feed posted the below video, revealing the true motive behind the ball.
— Lady Ball (@theladyball_com) January 15, 2016