Glass: The Lion For Change > Glass Lion

THIS GIRL CAN

FCB INFERNO, London / SPORT ENGLAND / 2015

Awards:

Gold Cannes Lions
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Overview

Credits

Overview

BriefExplanation

Despite the best efforts of sports brands, health experts and the London 2012 Olympics, two million fewer women than men were exercising regularly in England. What’s more, they knew and understood the benefits of exercise, and 75% of women aged 14-40 said they wanted to do more… But they weren’t. Sport England had identified a growing gender gap, and wanted to tackle it with a campaign that women themselves would own.

A huge number of barriers were stopping women from exercising, but we uncovered a fresh and unifying theme: the fear of judgement. Women felt judged on their appearance, during and after exercise; on their ability, whether they were a beginner or an expert; and simply for spending time exercising instead of prioritising being with their children.

The creative solution was to street-cast like-minded, like-bodied women and celebrate them to motivate others. These women weren’t models or sports personalities, but were smashing through their own barriers every time they put on a pair of running shoes or a swimsuit. Each line was inspired by our girls’ attitude to exercise. Each image was honest and un-Photoshopped. With This Girl Can, we wanted to make reality aspirational, and confidence achievable.

BriefWithProjectedOutcomes

This Girl Can launched in January of this year. With the UK General Election approaching in May and the upcoming result impossible to predict, we had to ensure that the campaign was politically-neutral and gained cross-party support in order to land successfully and avoid becoming a political football.

Effectiveness

With more than 29 million views online and over 700 million media impressions, This Girl Can has received an overwhelmingly positive response. Upon launching it was trending on Twitter, made it into Google’s Hot Trends and Top 12 Trending Searches, and received ten consecutive days of coverage.

We have gained 206,000 fans on Facebook, 61,900 Twitter followers and received coverage in over 65 countries without any international spend. We have seen a 720% increase in prompted campaign awareness, and our social sentiment has been consistently encouraging, with a 98% positive response.

Olympians, Paralympians, cross-party politicians, leading feminists and fellow brands have all shown their support for the campaign. Sporting clubs and even the BBC have created their own versions of the 90’ film, and a Facebook fan has had the first ever ‘This Girl Can’ tattoo!

But most importantly, we’re seeing the impact of the campaign on women’s exercise levels and attitudes towards activity. While quantitative behaviour change results are still to come, women worldwide have been telling us about the exercise they’ve done and the confidence they’ve felt as a result of This Girl Can.

EntrySummary

Women in sport suffer a severe lack of representation. Just 7% of sports media coverage is devoted to women’s sport and it receives a microscopic 0.4% of all commercial investment, despite 60% of sports fans say they would like to see more women’s sport on TV. This leads to a lack of female sporting role models.

However, when women in sport are represented in the media, they are scrutinised for their appearance. It’s telling that just one month before London 2012, The Telegraph published a piece entitled “Olympic athletes: These women are in perfect condition, so why call them fat?”

In wider society, the portrayal of women exercising is much worse. The media regularly annotates celebrity cellulite or sweat with a ‘circle of shame’, and commonly used societal terms are damaging, too. If a woman is good at a sport, she might find herself labelled ‘butch’; if she is just starting out, she exercises ‘like a girl’. There is seemingly no way to win.

Our campaign aims to change the written and visual language around women and exercise, paint a realistic picture of being active and make it widely accepted for women to feel confident when doing so.

Strategy

Fear of judgement was stopping women from exercising, so our task was one of liberation. To free women from the judgements that were holding them back, we had to ensure our campaign would tackle the negative societal influences surrounding them. The women we were trying to encourage felt exercise was a clique they simply didn’t belong to. From this we identified three key strategic requirements.

Firstly, reality was key. The toned, retouched models seen in gym posters or sports advertising were actively putting women off exercise: to our audience they felt like an unattainable misrepresentation of what exercise is, in reality. Women sweat, body parts jiggle, and cellulite is natural, yet none of this is ever acknowledged in mass media without scrutiny or sexualisation.

Secondly, the creative needed to move away from what the health and fitness sector viewed as ‘motivational’. Typically in this area, motivation is exclusive to achievement, competition or weight-loss, but feisty lines about PBs, winning or getting a ‘beach body’ were discouraging women. Our campaign needed to show that the inspiration to exercise could come from anywhere, and make an “I don’t give a damn” confidence the source of universal motivation.

Finally, our campaign needed to empathise with women, not preach from a brand pedestal. It was vital that our creative showed an understanding that the barrier women were facing was an effect of how society portrays them.

For Sport England – the Government agency for grassroots sport - this brief was of huge strategic importance. While it had funded many grassroots projects for women , this would be its first ever fully integrated marketing and communications campaign. Its brief asked for brave, disruptive creative that would be “inclusive, sensitive, real, inspiring”. The above principles and the end result deliver against all four of these requirements.

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