Sport England’s Integrated #ThisGirlCan Inspires Women

Sport England rolls out the core creative in its bold, new ‘This Girl Can’ initiative to encourage women of all sizes and fitness levels to enjoy sport.


It celebrates women who are doing their sports/exercise no matter how they do it, how they look or even how sweaty they get.


Building on the initial teaser work from late last year (see previous case study), the core phase of the campaign is led by a spearhead TV ad.



On launch the spot trended number two on Twitter in the UK and generated around 1 million Facebook views in its first day.


Thus far it has racked up more than 4.5 million views since its mid January launch,


The TV ad is supported by print and poster executions, as well as digital and social works and an experiential, on-the-ground element.


The copy features a set of slogans – such as ‘I jiggle therefore I am’, ‘Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox’, ‘I kick balls, deal with it’ and ‘I swim because I love my body, not because I hate it’ – as it aims to inspire by proving that ‘body image judgement’ is a barrier that can be overcome.


The multi-platform campaign also includes behind-the-scenes video,



as well as individual story webfilms that focus personally on the real women who front the campaign.


These include ‘Julie vs Inhibitions’ (‘dancing in public isn’t the easy thing in the world, we all have inhibitions that hold us back. Julie takes on her inhibitions and win with the help of Zumba),



‘Victoria vs Sweat’ (Victoria doesn’t think it should be just men who are allowed to sweat, get red in the face and have their hair all over the place. She feels great taking part in spin, so why should sweating be a bad thing?)



and ‘Kelly vs Mummy’ (A lot happens in Kelly’s day and it can be hard to find time to exercise especially when the kids are calling for their “Mummy!”. But #thisgirlcan and does).



The central body is also working with a range of sports and exercise led organisations to use #ThisGirlCan (on-site, experientially and via social media) to raise awareness of the opportunities their organisations offer for women to get involved or the first time.


Groups are invited to register as a This Girl Can partner at www.thisgirlcan.co.uk/register and applications which are accepted after being reviewed by Sport England will receive relevant resources, information and a toolkit.


These groups are also able to create their own This Girl Can webpage supporting the campaign and highlighting relevant opportunities.


The initiative follows Sport England research that found a significant gender gap in UK exercise levels: two million fewer 14 to 40-year-old women than men play sport regularly.


And yet the same research showed that 75% of women say they want to be more active.


The campaign, developed with agency FCB Inferno, aims to address the factors that the research suggested stops many of them.


‘Research into what’s stopping women turning their ambitions into reality found that a fear of judgement – on appearance, ability or how they chose to spend time on themselves – puts women of all ages off exercising,’ outlines the Sport England ‘This Girl Can’ website.




Eschewing the classic, glossy creative approach of so many heavyweight sports brands, This Girl Can takes a real-world approach and features ordinary women (complete with ordinary body parts that are not as firm and muscle-packed as those seen in most ads).


Immediately refreshing and certainly honest, using strong film and photography the ads all remain focused on the challenge and on providing real-world inspirational people.


While the sports landscape isn’t typically known for its realistic approach to body image, this campaign does follow in the footsteps of some notable campaigns from the past.


And not all of these are about women – think of Nike’s 2012 male-focused body image and fitness campaign.



Indeed, both the social and gender-based research and the campaign’s title also echo last year’s powerful ‘Like A Girl’ work from Always.



And other brands are refocusing their approach to focusing on female fans too.


Think MLB sponsor Chrysler’s World Series ‘Throw Like A Girl’ campaign (see previous case study), and the NFL’s landscape shifting approach to engaging with women (see previous case study).




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Sport England Website



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