Two million fewer women than men exercise frequently, even though 75 per cent say that they wish to do more. There are many barriers but the most common one is the fear of judgment, whether that relates to appearance, ability or spending time on themselves.
Sport England’s first integrated campaign, This Girl Can, was designed to tell the stories of real women, regardless of their shape, size or level of ability, who have overcome their fear of exercise to inspire other women to participate. The television advert aired in January.
Agency Blue Rubicon acted to kickstart the campaign by building a coalition of female influencers, from Cosmopolitan’s digital health and wellbeing editor Taylor Anderson to television presenter Clare Balding.
It negotiated editorial partnerships, using exclusive video content, with influential publications, securing pre-launch coverage explaining the message behind theadvert. It also engaged with Louise Pentland, the vlogger behind Sprinkle of Glitter which hasmore than 159,000 followers, to discuss the campaign in an eff ort to reach a younger audience.
As the advert went live, the campaign focused on celebrating ‘girls that can’, providing interviews and content to female-focused publications while Jennie Price, chief executive of Sport England, held a series of media briefi ngs. All content was produced in shareable format, to ensure that the conversation continued online.
To maintain momentum, bespoke feature packages were created with content that resonated with groups that most identifi ed with the barriers. An app was created that allowed women to create their own bespoke This Girl Can posters, and a commercial partnership was secured with Marks & Spencer. The high street giant has since launched exclusive This Girl Can t-shirts, of which 60 per cent were sold on the fi rst day.
Two new vloggers, Jana Vlogs andPatricia Bright, were also recruited to maintain dialogue with a younger audience.
Pre-launch coverage generated 3.2 million opportunities to see and tweets that reached 300,000 people, while the infl uencer briefi ngs produced 12 pieces of coverage championing the campaign. And at launch, 100 items of message rich coverage ran for 12 days.
The advert went viral around the world, becoming the top trending search on Google and was talked about in more than 100 countries, while This Girl Can now has more than 314,000 followers on Facebook, 78,000 on Twitter and 85,000 on Pinterest.
But, more importantly, early indications suggest the campaign is making a difference, with 31 per cent of women claiming they do more exercise now than a year ago, while 48 per cent of 14 to 19 year olds say they have taken action.
‘This was a campaign that became a national talking point,’ said the judges. ‘It really engaged people, creating great conversations across various audiences. It was highly interactive and connected.’