Campaigns around the world are tapping into female empowerment through sports.
English-speaking markets have become accustomed to advertising that celebrates women’s athleticism in recent years. But now, campaigns featuring similar imagery are appearing worldwide, from Scandinavia to the Middle East and beyond.
For a recent campaign, the Swedish women’s football team replaced the names on the back on their shirts with motivational quotes. Hoping to inspire women and promote their sport, the team has partnered with Adidas to launch the initiative.
The chosen quotes are phrases that have been tweeted by famous Swedish women and include messages such as “Believe in your damn self,” “Never look down on someone unless it is to help her up,” and “I am playing for my girls in Iran.”
The campaign is also being promoted on Twitter with the hashtag #IDittNamn which translates to “In Your Name.” The shirts will go on sale on March 8, International Women’s Day, with 10% of proceeds going to an organization that encourages young women to play sports.
In the Middle East last month, Nike released a bold ad featuring female athletes called “What Will They Say About You?” The campaign aims to challenge stereotypes, defy cultural norms, and encourage women to participate in sports without fear of judgement.
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In the UK, the ongoing campaign This Girl Can has just launched a new initiative inspiring women to get active, two years after a very successful first ad. According to Campaign, 1.6 million people started exercising as a result of the first initiative in 2015—a tangible impact on consumer behavior.
The new campaign is narrated by the late poet and activist Maya Angelou, and tackles the fears and mental hurdles that stop many people from exercising. These hurdles particularly affect women when it comes to sports. Sport England estimates that 2 million fewer women than men aged 14 to 40 play sports regularly in the UK, even though 75% say they want to be more active.
In addition to playing an important role in a healthy lifestyle, physical exercise can widen social circles, inspire independence, and encourage self-confidence according to a number of studies. Brands that highlight these benefits and the ways in which exercise can empower women will stand out to consumers.
What makes the new This Girl Can initiative so successful is its encouraging tone and its authenticity; the fact that it recognizes a self-consciousness that many women admit stops them from being active. Tapping into the concept of female strength in an honest way will not only draw women in, but also impact purchasing decisions and potentially spark a real change in consumer behavior.
The role of women in advertising is further explored in Women, Next.