Sport England has released the third film in its acclaimed campaign series This Girl Can, poking fun at the universal awkwardness associated with getting fit in order to reach women from lower-income backgrounds.
The film at the centre of the campaign’s third phase features genuine moments of humour, which Sport England hopes will resonate with anyone that is or once was new to a physical activity. This light-hearted approach – a contrast to last year’s empowering epic Phenomenal Woman – is evident in the campaign title: 'Fit Got Real'.
Parking traditional ‘sports’ at the door, the work features women trying, failing, and trying again. They hula hoop in the kitchen, hold their jiggling boobs on the trampoline and jog in the park with their babies in a pushchair to Barbra Streisand’s ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’.
Sport England hopes the film will communicate a message that whatever exercise a person does, it all counts.
The decision to target women from all economic backgrounds was borne out of the deep research the public body conducts throughout the year.
“Although we've successfully inspired 3 million women to be more active since launching in 2015, we know that for some reason the images and settings didn't feel as relevant to [some women’s] lives,” said Kate Dale, Sport England’s head of campaign strategy.
“There were significant inequalities that really worried us – in 2018 you're more than twice as likely to be inactive if you're a woman working in a shop or call centre or doing much more routine-based, lower-paid work than managerial professions. And that leads to other inequalities in life – wellbeing outcomes, mental outcomes...it impacts on quality and longevity of life. That's something we're tackling."
For Dale, the film’s focus and style “completes the trilogy” of This Girl Can, which has now tackled individual sports, team sports and non-traditional sports.
“What we never wanted to do was [create a] This Girl Can: the greatest hits,” she explained. “They all feel very different. I love the humour in this one – I think those moments of truth will be really important to the target audience this time around.”
The campaign will not be broadcast on TV – a decision some criticised earlier this year. But Dale is confident a social and digital strategy is the most effective in this case, stating the approach will allow Sport England to target different groups with different content “more cost effectively”.
She also believes the local partner activations planned with leisure centres, community groups and charities around the country will be key to reaching older women who aren’t active online.
Sport England’s long-term agency, FCB Inferno, developed the concept. The London shop successfully repitched for the account earlier this year, however Dale is clear that it was never a done deal for the incumbent.
“FCB went all out to get it,” she said. “We absolutely went into the pitch process completely neutral and weren't thinking they'd automatically win it. We were really impressed with not only how much work they put into it but how much they'd approached it with fresh thinking and how we'd need to do it differently."
The headline film was directed by Georgi Banks-Davies, who in a press release admitted to doing "‘Davina’s 15 Minute Workout’ in hotel rooms in my knickers, getting carpet burns on my elbows from planking”.
“That’s my reality,” she said. “I want the audience to be inspired to celebrate their own reality, and to feel proud of that.”
'Fit Got Real' is the final campaign for Sport England chief executive Jennie Price, who announced she'd be leaving the role after 11 years back in May. It’s a long notice period, but Dale explained the work was a project Price was “determined to get out of the door before she left”.
Price is succeeded on 19 November by Tim Hollingsworth, the current chief executive of the British Paralympic Association.