Ronda Rousey Fronts #PerfectNever Reebok Female Body Image Campaign

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UFC super star Ronda Rousey fronts a new female focused Reebok campaign revolving around ‘striving for perfection’ and ‘owning imperfections’ and facing up to defeat.


This #PerfectNever campaign, which runs under Reebok’s umbrella and ongoing #BeMoreHuman initiative, is led by a central spot that rejects the idea of a perfect body.


The video, launched in mid July, follows an elegantly dressed Rousey leaving a photo shoot: peeling off false eyelashes, pulling out hair extensions and wiping off lipstick, as she starts wrapping her hands as she heads for the gym.



The campaign is amplified across other social platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter



as well as digital channels – including its bespoke web pages at where consumers can hear more from Rousey and other female Reebok athletes.


The message is that both versions of Rousey are the real her and that  focusing on what eeveryday society might consider the ‘more perfect’  denies the reality of what it takes to be Rowdy Ronda Rousey.


‘Perfect never gets to silence its critics. Perfect never gets a shot at redemption. So yeah, I’m fine not being perfect.’


Dealing with criticism – either after a professional defeat or from Twitter trolls – has become part of  how Rousey sees herself.


‘There are a lot of unrealistic standards being put on everyone,’ Rousey said in a press release accompanying the campaign.


‘I think it’s good to have examples out there who say, ‘You know what, not everyone is always going to like you, but life will go on. You’ll be okay, and you can still love yourself.’


And the underlying campaign message is that this applies to everyone: it is partly the ‘not measuring up’ that makes us interesting, powerful, and, ultimately, human.




The spot, which has racked up more than 250,000 YouTube views, follows on from the Reebok fighter endorser’s recent professional past.


Formerly an undefeated mixed martial arts world champion who, for many fans, was an iconic introduction to UFC, Rousey was surprisingly beaten by Holly Holm in Australia last November in a fight that broke all sorts of UFC records and it is this defeat that forms the background to the new campaign.


So much so that Roussey even appeared on US TV and opened up to Ellen DeGeneres about how much it has affected her and showing fans her vulnerable side.


This continues in a Reebok campaign which discusses finding strength in moments of vulnerability, and explores the perfection in imperfections.
It is also based on the insight that Rousey herself, despite her success and fame, is no stranger to body-shaming and has been on the receiving end of a plenty of online negativity.


This campaign continues the ongoing sports sector female empowerment and female engagement tactical refocusing of recent months and it also follows in the footsteps of several other sponsorship initiatives and brand campaigns addressing and tackling the issue of body shaming and internet trolling – including Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful Oscars sponsorship (see case study)


and Coca-Cola’s (quickly curtailed) Super Bowl 2015 #MakeItHappy campaign.


Reebok not only has a major athlete endorsement deal with Rousey and a track record of striking Rousey led campaigns (see case study), but it also has an exclusive and integrated partnership with UFC (which itself was recently bought by WME-IMG).


Reebok signed its exclusive $70m, six-year sponsorship deal with the UFC at the end of 2014 and the sports apparel brand unveiled its UFC Fight Kit on 30 June.


By linking with a niche, but fast growing property like UFC, Reebok both leverages itself as a challenger brand against its big beats rivals Nike and Adidas, and positions itself to benefit from a sport exploding across social media and starting to move into the mainstream.




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