New ‘This Girl Can’ campaign to target ‘teens, mums and their grandmothers’

Sport England has broadened its target audience to go “across generations” as it looks to build on the success of the first campaign.

This Girl Can

Sport England is bringing back its hugely successful ‘This Girl Can’ campaign with the aim of being “a bit bolder” in its creative as it tries to encourage all women to take up exercise whether they are 14 or 65.

The campaign is being in launched in stages, with the out-of-home posters released last week and the digital activity starting yesterday (30 January). The new TV ad is set to hit British airwaves on 24 February.

It will also include an app where women can upload a picture of themselves exercising and overlay one of the new campaign mantras. Sport England will then select a few to be shown on digital out-of-home screens in shopping centres across the UK.

The activity follows on from the hugely successful first iteration of the campaign, which launched in early 2015. It won numerous Cannes Lions awards, including the inaugural Glass Lion that celebrates advertising that promotes gender equality. 

That campaign, created with agency FCB Inferno, persuaded 1.6 million women to start exercising, while 2.8 million who are aware of the campaign say they have become more active as a result, according to independent research released by Sport England.

As a result, This Girl Can’s campaign manager Kate Dale felt noticeably nervous about launching a second iteration.

“It’s easy to surprise and delight people when you’ve got no expectations. This time around, however, we are allowed to be a bit bolder, by showing the lines and cellulite in a stronger way than we would have felt able to do last time,” she tells Marketing Week.

Dale says Sport England decided to keep the things that made the last campaign successful, including “street casting, real women talking about their stories and no Photoshop”.

But the campaign’s range has evolved. While the previous campaign targeted women aged between 14 and 40, Sport England is now keen to target women well into their 60s, with the new ad including two women who are over 60.

“14 to 60 is one hell of a demographic. Last time, we wanted to target teenagers and their mums, now it’s relevant to their mum and grandmother. [The campaign] looks to go right across generations and still resonate,” explains Dale.

“Older women said they had strong connections to the campaign beforehand, but they spoke about the fear of being a beginner. At 46, you’re maybe a little bit less inclined to start something new, so that’s what we’re directly tackling. We want to normalise the beginner and highlight that exercise is not just about the physical benefits but also about personal development.”

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  • Hailey Fink 1 Feb 2017 at 3:26 am

    Kate Dale, the campaign manager of “This Girl Can,” definitely found a way to reach her target audience. Influencing 2.8 million women from this ad is a great success and I hope that it will have as large of an impact the second time around. Being from America, I have not the ad, but I still wonder how the second iteration of the campaign will be different enough from the first to still grab people’s attention. I wonder if it would be as effective in America where obesity, in men and women, is prominent. Being active and exercising always seems to directed specifically towards men, especially in sports, and this campaign challenges that. Focusing this campaign on women brings attention to the fact they can, and should, be active, too! I think that having an interactive app that women and girls can submit pictures is a great way to encourage people to get active, get involved with the campaign, and then show off their progress along the way. This app has the opportunity to create a community of support among all the women and girls that choose to make a difference in their lives no matter what age they are starting.

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