Sport England preps ‘biggest’ marketing campaign to inspire women to be active

Sport England is launching its first biggest marketing campaign that will use women plucked from parks and gyms across the country to encourage other females to take up sport.

Sport England is launching a campaign to encourage women to be more active.
Sport England is launching a campaign to encourage women to be more active.

The “This Girl Can” push launches in January and will look to break down the attitudinal barriers stopping women exercising.

Of the 9.4 million 14-40 year old women in the UK, 7.1 million (75%) would like to lead a more active lifestyle but are being stopped by several concerns, according to a study by Sport England. A fear of being judged on their appearance and on the perception they would rather spend time on themselves than with their families, are two major issues raised that the campaign will try to address.

Rather than turn to aspirational women to appeal to people as the likes of Nike and L’Oreal have done, Sport England is casting real women to champion the cause across several channels. The tactic aims to ground the campaign in the real life experiences of the women in the hope that audiences find easier to be inspired by the content.

A glimpse of how this will be realised is shown through the @thisgirlcan twitter profile and website. Sport England ran a casting call for potential females to star in the ad and is currently using it as a platform to stir up debate around why women lack the confidence to keep fit. The online portal will also host exercise tests moving forward.

The “This Girl Can” creative concept can be adopted by brands and sporting properties.

Jennie Price, chief executive of Sport England, says: “Women do less sport and exercise than men, but most say they would like to do more, so we had to get to the bottom of what’s holding them back.

“We found out by talking to women of all ages up and down the country that what’s stopping them is fear, fear of judgement. Whether that’s about how they look, whether they’re any good at it, or feeling guilty about spending time on themselves. Whichever way you slice it, women’s fear of judgment is sapping their confidence. This Girl Can is a celebration of all the women who are finding their confidence to exercise: it’s an attitude, and a call to action for all women to do the same.”

The objective has yielded the biggest marketing outlay from Sport England to date, reflecting its ambitious target to reach the majority of women across the country through one its channels. The scale and approach are a shift for the organisation’s traditional PR-focused efforts around its grassroots initiatives.

Sport England’s decision to focus the campaign on women ties back to insights it had been gathering on how to address the gender gap in activity.

Hide Comments2 Show Comments
  • Ian Hardie 2 Nov 2014 at 3:54 am


  • AviaTrixie 3 Nov 2014 at 11:45 am

    Research I conducted with women and girls in cricket suggested the main reason for lack of participation was lack of time. Women lead busy lives with jobs, houses, families, ageing parents, the dog, social/community commitments etc. Finding time to commit to a team or regular sessions at the gym or aerobics classes is a much more practical obstacle.

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