I wrote a blog post in 2015 whilst at Recenseo about how the Sport England #ThisGirlCan campaign first started changing consumer perception and behaviour and I’m now going to continue my #girlcrush gush… because its achievement has been recognised internationally…
The campaign originally caught my eye because changing consumer behaviour is one of the hardest challenges we can face as marketers. I don’t mean enticing people to buy and own brands they don’t need… I mean changing their behaviour for their own good. Public health campaigns have a history of wildly missing the mark – and occasionally achieving impact, but they’re a hot potato which many agencies are not creatively capable of handling – it’s just not that easy. However, the phenomenal #Thisgirlcan campaign from Sport England hit the nail on the head (original commercial, 2015).
Not only did this campaign win a Glass Lion award for ‘Tackling Gender Inequality’ at Cannes this year, but Sport England has also been asked to work with VicHealth, a health foundation based in the Australian state of Victoria, to reduce the gap between the number of men and women participating in sport and exercise.
My theme for this commentary doesn’t vary much from my original opinion: I wholeheartedly believe that the campaign was successful in several ways but mainly because Sport England knew what it wanted to achieve. It had a research-backed goal, so knew what achievement would look like… So far, it sounds as though VicHealth has its own very clear goal, too, so by producing a localised version of the creative, they should achieve it.
In addition to knowing what success looks like, a further vital tool for changing consumer perception and behaviour is even more back to basics. It’s about getting into the heads of the people whose behaviour you’re trying to change. And this is where This Girl Can achieved the heights of success.
Sport England used its extensive research findings to drive the message, tapping into the psyche of what prevents women from getting off the sofa/ out of the house/ away from the laptop and then what engages and commits them to the activity they choose. The adverts continue to feature women of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, engaging more as they wheel out each rendition (latest creative Feb 2017). The adverts cleverly feel very personal – a theme developed through social media which cemented the research findings and no doubt provides more material for future campaigns.
An outstanding example of how to genuinely change people’s perceptions and behaviour. If you’ve not had a look at the website recently, please do: http://www.thisgirlcan.co.uk.