This Girl Can
Two million less women than men were exercising regularly in England, forming a large and stubborn gender gap. Women knew and understood the benefits of exercise, and what’s more, 75% of them aged 14-40 said they want to do more activity. But they weren’t…
Sport England tasked us with getting more women in this age group to exercise regularly. Their aim was simple, but the target audience was broad. An influential solution was needed that could elicit mass behaviour change.
The campaign has picked up 45 awards and counting, including Grand Prix’s from Cannes, APG and Eurobest. Most importantly the number of women playing sport and keeping active once a week, every week, is up by 148,700.
Driven by popular demand from women themselves, Sport England has announced a partnership with Marks & Spencer to sell a This Girl Can sportswear range.
The fear of judgement – on ability, appearance, or for simply spending time exercising. This was stopping women from being more active. Women worried about being judged on their appearance, during and after exercise; on their ability, whether they were a beginner or ‘too good’; or for spending time exercising instead of prioritising their children or studying. We needed to liberate women from the judgements that held them back, by replacing their fear with a “don’t give a damn” attitude.
This Girl Can is a celebration of the triumph of attitude over society’s judgement. We championed active women across England who were doing their thing no matter how they did it or how they looked. In order to change both feelings and behaviour, we needed to spark a realisation in our audience that they were not alone in feeling judged. It was important to inspire them with the confidence needed to push through their fear of judgement, and finally support them with inspiration on a range of activities.
In October 2014, we set out to show women that they weren’t alone in feeling judged in a way that no other Government or sporting campaign has done before. Featuring confident, active, relatable girls from across the country, we created a series of conversation-starting online films to tell their individual stories and how they overcame the barriers our audience face. We proactively responded to tweets about exercise anxiety with encouragement and support. Throughout this phase we created an important and solid base of supporters for the campaign, made up of both influencers and women feeling supported.
The girls’ exercise stories continued into a pacy 90 second TV and cinema advert, with individual mantras created for each girl based on their inspiring attitude towards exercise. A 90 sec TVC launched during the prime time Coronation Street spot in parallel to social seeding of the film to maximise dual screening. The 90 sec film also went live in Cinema.
Since campaign launch, Sport England's social media community has grown to 432,000. Every day more women and girls ask to get involved with the campaign. In response, we created a web app which enables women to upload their own exercise picture, add a This Girl Can mantra such as “Hot and Not Bothered” and logo. Since launching there have been over 14,000 uploads, a selection of which have been used on This Girl Can social channels, in localised digital Out Of Home and for PR to inspire others to become active.
To truly celebrate the girls and their mantras, 48 sheet posters and digital and static 6 sheets went live nationally. To create a local, personal touch, we ensured that the hometown of each girl featured her execution
In just one year the social community grew from zero to 324,000 on Facebook, 82,000 on Twitter and 26,000 on Instagram. The campaign films racked up over 37 million views, and the 90 sec film alone received over 19 million views and 130,000 shares. Currently 7,000 partners have downloaded the campaign toolkit. Sports clubs, universities and BBC Get Inspired have produced memes of the 90” film, whilst parents, schools and large companies including Credit Suisse are using This Girl Can to encourage women to become more active.
Perhaps most amazingly, 2.8 million women have done more exercise as a result of seeing This Girl Can and 1.6 million of those have started or re-started exercising.
“Almost all who have viewed the campaign talk of a shift in feeling – an increase in motivation to participate in sport and exercise.” (Source: SPA Panel Survey)
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