Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign inspires 2.8 million women to get active

Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign has inspired 2.8 million women to get active, according to new figures released today, but the government-funded organisation still has “a long way to go” says its director of business partnerships Tanya Joseph.

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It’s a year to the day since Sport England released the This Girl Can creative and new research has found that millions of women and girls have been inspired by the campaign, created with agency FCB Inferno.

Stats released today (12 January) show that 2.8 million 14-40-year-old women who recognise the campaign say they have done some or more activity as a result, while 1.6 million say they’ve started exercising. Yet despite the impressive results Joseph believes this is just the beginning.

“We are delighted the campaign has had such a great start but completely recognise that we have a long way to go,” Joseph told Marketing Week. “The gender gap has narrowed but only slightly. We need to get more women doing sport and the proportion of women doing sport to be greater.”

The findings come a month after Sport England’s ‘Active People’ survey, which found that 148,700 more women were active for at least 30 minutes once a week, every week in the 12 months up to September 2015, compared to the 12 months up to March 2015.

But there is still a gender gap of 1.73 million fewer women playing sport compared to men and Sport England hopes to tackle this through social media engagement with its 540,000-strong community and a new partnership with Sport Relief.

Sport England plans to release new films and mantra’s for Sport Relief, which takes place on 18-20 March. The aim is to encourage women to get active while raising money for causes and Joseph said the two brands have a natural affinity.

Joseph said: “When you think about their target audience and ours it’s very similar. You are saying, ‘I’m not taking myself terribly seriously, I’m doing it for a good cause’.

“It gives you a reason to do it, to get ready, train and feel good about yourself because you’re doing something for other people.”

The organisation also launched a new range of active wear last week (7 January) to add to the existing partnership with M&S, selling limited edition t-shirts. This was in response to women requesting more of a selection to wear for various sports activities.

A renewed focus

A report released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in December highlights a change in remit for Sport England to expand activity to other under represented groups, not just women.

It states that it will “distribute funding to focus on those people who tend not to take part in sport, including women and girls, disabled people, those in lower socio-economic groups and older people” and will broaden the remit to include children from the age of five rather than 14 as it is today.

However, Joseph said the This Girl Can campaign will remain focused and won’t become “everyone can”. However she did say that the organisation will use similar behaviour change techniques and marketing to engage other groups and “make sport a practical choice for them”.

She said: “For so many people, including a lot of women, sport is not something they feel comfortable with, it’s not a choice that they make. We want sport to be a normal thing.”

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here