ARTS & LETTERS CREATIVE CO., Richmond / ESPN / 2022
There are still major gender imbalances in American sports. Female athletes are still paid considerably less than men, and Title IX legislation is under attack from political groups who view it as government over-regulation. So ESPN needed a launch campaign that would both generate excitement about their Fifty/50 series and re-ignite female athletes to rally around Title IX and gender equality in sports. The campaign would launch with a :30 TV commercial and be followed by a series of activations, including a clothing line, which is still in development.
Gender equality in sports didn't happen overnight just because the Title IX was passed in 1972. Gender equality is the result of generations of women pushing each other forward and refusing to be ignored. Every generation of female athletes has made small improvements for 50 years, so the generation after them could have a better experience. This commercial shows the entire history of Title IX, from the day it was passed in 1972, until 2022. The continuous editing technique we chose to use, literally shows each female athlete pushing the next female athlete forward, year after year, achievement after achievement.
After 50 years, Americans were starting to forget about the significance of Title IX. This was dangerous, because many political groups were attempting to un-do the equality law. ESPN needed to re-ignite passion for the law and for equality itself. To do that, we needed to celebrate the women who fought for equal rights in sports, and tell their stories. Our strategy was to talk about the women behind Title IX, rather than focusing on the law itself. With our comms planning we wanted to inspire and relate to women with our Title IX message by meeting them where they are, on key owned and operated our social channels.
Title IX, passed in 1972, was the first law to guarantee gender equality in American sports. This commercial shows the entire history of Title IX from 1972 until 2022, using a continuous editing technique. Visually, it represents the tradition of gender equality that each generation of women has had to uphold and advance. Over these visuals, the idea is reinforced by the voiceover, who reads the full legal language of the Title IX law. Tessa Thompson, Marvel movie star and outspoken gender equality activist, is the voiceover talent. The spot launched on International Women's Day.
The spot saw major success and engagement on social and through our PR efforts, as well as a large audience via broadcast. It performed well above ESPN's average view count on social, by about 33%.
For the ad's priority female audience, it drove strong emotional attributes such as ""inspiring"" with the message being extremely well received and impactful. It performed above the ESPN ads norm for likeability (by 28%) and relevance (by 18%). It was the 3rd highest rated ESPN ad among female audiences ever (ACE score). As one of our audiences stated ""I love this ad [because] it represents female power and women equality.""
It ultimately drove a lift in ESPN brand perception and translated to 52% of female audiences saying they were more likely to visit the brand after viewing the ad.
Source: (1) Crowdtangle, (2) ESPN & ACE Metrics