Tag: message

This Girl Can – and the campaign does

I sweat, I pant, I run - I don't look good but it makes me feel great.

I sweat, I pant, I run – I don’t look good but it makes me feel great.

Keeping it simple

I’ve followed the Sport England, This Girl Can, campaign since it launched and have been impressed by its simplicity from the start. The first thing they did right was to recognise that branding has a place but not all over everything.

Living in a world where we are constantly targeted by marketing messages people have become increasingly cynical, and when something is overtly branded we know to be aware that we are being ‘sold at’.

Unfortunately, this can be a difficult lesson to learn and many companies feel that they are missing a trick if they don’t have their brand on show, all of the time. The truth is that more often than not, less is more.

Don’t ask too much

Consumers have never been more intrinsically linked to the tricks of the trade and they are aware of the power that they have to influence a brand by advocacy or to crucify it through controversy.

Social media is a fantastic communication tool, we have never been able to share messages so quickly or with such a vast audience, but with it comes some pitfalls too.

The hurdles often become apparent when agencies try to be too clever. They expect too much from the consumer and in a culture where we click to purchase or swipe to like there is simply no way that the volume of people required to impress a client will engage.

What This Girl Can have done is simply ask that people share their image – if they want to. And that is the point. They aren’t suggesting you will get anything in return, they aren’t selling anything to you, per se, but they are changing behaviour and asking that if you want to you can get involved.

Keeping it real

There’s absolutely nothing new in creating campaigns that focus on real people. It’s been done before and it will be done again, it’s a good idea and it works. However, with this campaign, it takes keeping it real to a whole new level.

The idea that people would share their pictures when they know they don’t look their best and in many instances far from it would never be an objective that you would choose when developing a marketing campaign, but it’s worked.

There is something almost akin to a ‘sisterhood’ which has gained momentum through this campaign and what has made it stand out for me is that it hasn’t felt forced. It’s been very organic in the way it has picked up pace.

The tone of voice and messages have been perfect too. It hasn’t, like many sports-related campaigns, being about pushing yourself to the limit, setting goals or even encouraging you to try the latest exercise or equipment – it has been about being you; doing what you do; being proud of your efforts and knowing that if you don’t want to, you don’t have to. It makes it hard for you not to endorse it.

Being all things to all people

Many brands want to target a mass market, it’s a numbers game. They want to communicate with everyone and to use one message to do that. If you work in marketing you will know that getting this right is like finding a goose that lays golden eggs – it’s rare!

Not only does mass market require mass budgets (and admittedly you could argue £8m is a pretty good start) but it also needs to be so effective that everyone sees it, gets it, acts on it and shares it. This Girl Can does exactly that. It cleverly features a variety of women that most people can relate to. Some people may say that it ticks boxes – and perhaps that is true – but it’s worked.

The most recent TV advert has extended the audience from 14 – 40 to 14 – 60 year olds. Very few agencies would ever take a brief that suggested you target 14-60 year old women, cross demographic and geography, with a single campaign.

Keeping momentum

The typical problem with sports-related marketing is keeping the momentum. Something may work but once it’s done you can’t really repeat it without it becoming… well, repetitive, which in turn makes it boring.

The scheduling and roll out of This Girl Can has captured attention time and time again. The subtle shift in focus from advertising to activism was inspired. The process was so simple; use advertising and PR (along with an £8m budget) to capture the hearts and minds of women throughout the country, ask them to join in, give them the tools to get involved, create a community, leave them to it. Clearly, I’ve over simplified that, but it’s not far from what’s happened.

Don’t over commercialise

This goes back to selling at people. It’s not only consumers that don’t like this approach, when something is too commercial it makes it almost impossible to share with the media. That’s what advertising is for.

All you have to do is search the news pages online to see just how much coverage has been achieved with This Girl Can across national, regional and broadcast media along with more blogs than I care to mention – this one included!

Any agency would be popping corks if they could do the same and replicate these results every time they worked with a client – we’d also be retiring and moving to the Bahamas.

The tools

I mention above about giving people the tools to get involved and the This Girl Can app is so simple it takes around a minute to create your own poster, which you can then conveniently share across all of your social channels. Et voila you’re part of the community and before you know it you’re sharing their message and endorsing the brand.

It’s very, very rare that I get sucked into any marketing tactics but I’ve got to hold my hands up – I’m in. I have my own poster and I’m secretly quite proud of the fact that I can share it. I feel like I’m doing my bit. I’m part of a community of women who are content with getting active in their own way, at their own pace and in their own time.

What makes this message even more compelling is that it speaks to me; I can genuinely agree and associate directly with the philosophy of this campaign. I’ve just start to run (jog would probably be more fitting) and although I’m never going to be any kind of athlete, nor do I want to be, I’m enjoying it because I’m doing it my way.

My only suggestion and something that I found quite frustrating is that the headlines you can use are all formatted – so although there are a few to choose from they aren’t ‘yours’. I would have liked to have been given the option to add my own, but that’s just me.

Campaign of the decade

Working in marketing can be and often is tough. PR is just one facet of this but you have so many people to keep happy and it’s a balancing act. We often associate it to spinning plates. Not everything always goes as you want it to. It can be about test and measure.

When the consumer says no, and people simply refuse to engage with a campaign, we have to review the tactics we’ve used and take a long hard look at what went wrong. In doing this it also gives us the opportunity to review other brand activities – those that we feel have got it right.

Like many people in our industry, I call upon a few campaigns that over the years have got it right and I can say without any hesitation that This Girl Can will be going to the top of that list. I genuinely believe that it is the best campaign we have seen in the last decade and coming from someone who is typically difficult to please that’s saying something.

This campaign can and it has!

The subjective terror of humour in advertising

Humour is a tricky business when you work in marketing, not only is it very subjective but it is often easier to offend than it is to raise a smile. The challenge is that humour sells, but whether your particular preference is innuendo or something a little more subtle, you have to strike the right balance for your preferred target audience.

A recent example of a brand that I think have got it spot on is Maltesers with their ‘Look on the light side’ campaign. Not the obvious brand to push boundaries but what they have done is two-fold; use humour to encourage word of mouth and also champion disability, to celebrate inclusiveness and challenge perception.

Not something that you expect, but the way in which this series of TV adverts – and most recently the first ever braille only billboard – is nothing but superb. The subject of disability is handled sensitively and without the usual patronising undertones.

The TV adverts feature a series of people with a range of disabilities who share their unfortunate stories with friends. Everything from spasms to driving a wheelchair over the foot of a bride! What is really impressive is that rather than leaving you cringing, as you may have expected, they somehow bridge a gap and have you laughing out loud (I just can’t bring myself to write LOL).

What surprised me was that when the adverts were first launched – brilliantly timed to coincide with the Paralympics – people wanted to laugh but were unsure if it was ‘correct to do so’. The first advert shows a young woman explaining her most recent sexual experience with her new boyfriend and the fact that he benefits from her unfortunately timed spasm. Brilliant!

The way that the advert brings together human interest and humour makes for fantastic storytelling.

Hats off to Maltesers. I think the Paralympics this year really did showcase some exceptional talent and the Games were just as exciting as the Olympics. I also think The Last Leg is one of the most hilarious shows on TV and what these small steps continue to do is allow us all think differently and to celebrate each other for what we can do, as opposed to what we can’t.

My final thoughts, #Isitok to use humour and disability as the foundations to a marketing campaign – yes, when it’s done well.

The true strength of a brand

It can be difficult to sound anything but flowery when you are trying to explain to companies how important it is to build a brand, inject personality into a business and become recognised for your values.

Getting the packaging right, making sure the design stands out on shelf, ensuring the copy is drafted using the right tone of voice and building brand presence with message retention through a consistent and sustainable PR strategy are all the ‘things’ that take a something and make it a household name.

I saw a great example of how brands have got it right this week when I came across an article in Brand Republic announcing that Selfridges have created a ‘no noise’ campaign, which intends to discourage ‘information overload’.
The idea is that brands are displayed without logos or branding. The more interesting thing about this campaign is that consumers are still aware of what the products are meaning in simple terms that they are doing something very right.

It’s fair to say that not all brands can do this and of course it will work best for FMCG goods but it is an interesting concept all the same. When you get to the point where you can take away your brand and people still know who you are and what you have to offer you know that all of your marketing efforts and budgets are paying off.

Needless to say I wouldn’t recommend this become a permanent move but it’s an interesting test all the same. It would be a great ‘geeky’ game for those who work in marketing – can you guess what each item is without the brand?

Who wants to play?