'Stop at Nothing': Nike and AnalogFolk's playbook for getting Italian women into sport
AnalogFolk won Most Innovative Use of New Social Platforms at The Drum Content Awards 2019, with its Nualla Puo Fermarci (Stop at Nothing) campaign for Nike. Here, the agency reveals the challenges it faced and the strategies it used to produce this successful campaign.
Italy has a specific and significant problem with its perception of sportswomen. They are rarely seen or celebrated. When they are, they’re stereotyped, sexualised, objectified, or pushed from sports spaces. So much so that SS Lazio fans recently shared fliers asking female fans to stay away from their stands. Yes, in 2019.
In Milan – a key Nike city – 55% of women between 14 and 24 don’t do any sport at all. Why would they, when female sporting heroes are either invisible, objectified or vilified as unfeminine?
Nike challenged us to get 150,000 young Milanese women moving by using social, in a way that would cement the brand’s status as the champion of women in sport – on every level. Nike wanted a campaign that would not only be talked about and engaged with but would also create real-world action with far-reaching effects.
Our research suggested that women were tired of being told to do sport by brands, so what was the right message for 2019? And how could we connect with the Gen Z audience, when many brands were failing?
In Milan, we asked our audience an important question – if they weren’t playing sport, what were they doing? The stats told us they spent most time on social media, but this wasn’t just passive scrolling.
A new social currency had developed alongside the rise of a new social platform - TikTok. Thousands of young women were challenging one another to perform intricate dance routines. We realised we'd been looking at sport through Nike’s lens, not what it meant to our audience.
To drive maximum participation and get young Milanese women applying their abilities to ‘sport’ as we saw it, Nike needed to replicate the connection and fun they were finding in TikTok.
In December, we identified three Milan-based TikTok influencers with a combined following of 11 million. The followers were all aged between 16 and 20, and known for posting the kind of dance challenges our audience loves.
We paired each ‘Muser’ with a Nike elite athlete and watched the fireworks happen. Italian champion boxer Federica Monacelli taught Martina Picardi the ropes. Basketball star Olbis Futo Andrè got Kessy and Mely shooting hoops. Juventus player Benedetta Glionna transformed Virginia Montemaggi into a fleet-footed footballer.
In January, they worked together to co-create a dance based on each of their sports, choreographing routines that the influencers performed on their TikTok accounts, challenging their followers to do the same.
We worked with TikTok to ensure that as well as being posted out to our influencers’ followers, all three challenges were hosted on TikTok’s first-ever campaign page and supported with in-platform ads, giving us the biggest branded takeover of the platform yet.
We earned 100m+ views and 540k+ likes for the three challenges, with 20m+ #basketbeat views in just 36 hours. More than 46k user-generated routines were posted in response.
Over 300 articles have been written about our campaign, for a readership of more than 600 million. That includes our athletes appearing on the cover of Corriere della Sera, one of the most conservative papers in Milan. Sky Sports – alongside numerous other news outlets – has aired features on our campaign.
We started 150k+ specific conversations around our campaign and our athletes.
We drove engagement on our owned channels, too – with NikePlus membership numbers growing and a quickly shrinking gender gap. Milan has become the fastest-growing city in Nike’s EMEA region, as more young women see ‘Nulla Puo Fermarci’ as a way into sport.
This campaign was a winner at The Drum Content Awards 2019. If you think you can do better, register your interest in next year's awards.
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