Women's sport accounts for just 4% of sports coverage: it doesn't get nearly enough coverage in the media, especially when the sport is seen as very masculine (i.e. rugby or cycling). But it has serious consequences: less media coverage means fewer sponsors and therefore less budget. That's when inspiring ad campaigns come into play to put women's sport and athletes in the spotlight!
Why are women's sport ad campaigns so important?
Women's sport is a sector that's on the up: it's on track to be worth over a billion dollars according to a Deloitte report (we discussed it here!).
Fans of women's sport are actually more receptive to sponsorship deals than their male counterparts. It keeps grabbing attention on TV, in stadiums and on social media. But women's sport needs promotion through advertising to unlock its potential: countless brands and companies are supporting female athletes and giving them a voice. It's a bonus for brands that see themselves in the values embodied by the athletes.
Nike - Dream Crazier (2019)
The Dream Crazier ad is 90 seconds of feminist empowerment. It tackles every cliché about female athletes narrated by Serena Williams: when a woman stands for something, she's unhinged. When a woman gets angry, she's irrational. When she boxes, she's just nuts. Nike takes a stand and condemns the unfair treatment female athletes get in the media.
20x20 - If She Can't see It, She Can't Be It (2018)
20x20 is an exciting campaign to promote women and girls in sport. The ad by the Federation of Irish Sport aims to fuel real cultural change in Irish sport by making women the stars and showcasing their strengths and talents.
Sport England - This Girl Can (2015 et 2020)
Sport England tackles the pressure from finances, work, home and childcare that women contend with every day in this campaign for women's sport. The message is that there's no right or wrong way to work out: if your heart's beating faster, you're exercising. The ad features several examples of fitness to suit any lifestyle to portray the unfiltered reality of real women exercising.
Nike China - Back To The Beginning (2019)
Female athletes are shackled by stereotypes that are very much part of society in China: 3 out of 4 Chinese women stop doing sport after the age of 17. Nike addresses the issue with the story of female athletes in its inspiring Back to the Beginning ad. People watched profiles of female athletes who have broken the glass ceiling throughout the country.
Adidas - Faster Than (2020)
Similarly to Nike's ad campaign for women's sport, Adidas explores the broader history of women in sport in Asia. The ad is designed to encourage women to use the power of sport to overcome stereotypes, prejudice and adversity. Faster Than challenges women to take life by the horns and achieve their potential with inspiring stories.
Nike Russia - What Are Girls Made Of (2017)
Nike Russia puts its own spin on the nursery rhyme about girls being made from "sugar and spice, and all things nice" to champion their strong will and power. The brand smashes clichés for greater gender equality in sport and society.
Adidas - She Breaks Barriers (2019)
Adidas breaks down stereotypes with this inspiring campaign and provides real support to women's sport. Adidas showcases French champions such as Estelle Mossely, Allison Pineau and Aïssatou Tounkara so young women find it easier to identify with role models and stick with sport.
DAZN - We All Rise With More Eyes (2021)
DAZN acquired the global rights to broadcast the UEFA Women's Champions League from 2021 and 2025 and celebrated with this ad. Whilst professional women's sport is still fighting for visibility, this campaign champions a media partnership that provides good publicity for players, clubs and the elite competition itself. Fans around the world can finally watch all the matches!
ESPN x WNBA - WNBA Orange Hoodies (2020)
.@KingJames is ready 😏 @WNBA— espnW (@espnW) July 25, 2020
(via @NBA) pic.twitter.com/jm5imWsKmC
ESPN supports and broadcasts the WNBA and launched the inspiring Orange Hoodies campaign which saw hoodies sent to celebrities and athletes (including male NBA players). It's become a symbol of support for female basketball, women working in professional sport and players.
Bumble - Serena (2019)
The dating app Bumble worked with tennis icon Serena Williams on a year-long project to encourage women to tap into their inner strength in sport for a Super Bowl ad. Bumble is an app where women make the first move. The campaign asks them to step up and grab life by the horns.