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Women across the world finally take centrestage in sportswear ads

24-February-2017
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Women across the world finally take centrestage in sportswear ads

Advertisements from sports brands mostly have one common theme: high-performing men. Not anymore, though. Sportswear brands are now making concerted efforts to break the stereotype that men alone are sporty, athletic, and go-getters who love to push boundaries. A recent global campaign from Adidas featured women athletes, a woman fitness trainer, and a woman super-model among others.

According to Adidas, the global campaign underlines the brand’s aggressive pursuit for creativity to push the boundaries of sport. Although the subject of the campaign is gender neutral, the campaign, titled Unleash Your Creativity, is told through a female athlete’s lens. Sharad Singla, Senior Manager, Brand Communications, Adidas, explaining the reason behind the brand choosing to portray women as drivers of creativity said, “We feel that women have a different perspective about creativity and we wanted to channelise that through a focused approach thereby delivering a hard hitting message.”

The campaign film stars 15 women athletes including supermodel Karlie Kloss, fitness influencer Hannah Bronfman, fitness instructor and best-selling author Robin Arzon, WNBA All-Star Candace Parker and USWNT soccer star Becky Sauerbrunn. The 30-second video that follows women training and performing begins with a voice over: “We have been told a lie, that hard work is enough.” And ends with a few powerful words: “When we unleash our creativity, that makes all the difference.”

Adidas has customised the global campaign that went live in 20 countries by also featuring leading Indian women athletes in the Indian version. “The concept is global and the campaign is built to appeal to a universal audience. To accentuate the campaign message we localised with an activation involving female Indian athletes - Dipika Pallikal Karthik, Geeta Phogat and Nikhat Zareen who come from different sports categories. We have also launched a contest on our social channels, asking women to share their creative routine. The aim is to inspire women athletes in India and get them to unleash their creativity,” Singla said.

The global campaign includes a multi-athlete TV spot and a short film series that tells the stories of 15 female athletes around the globe who use creativity to defy conventions, reinvent routine, create their own path and inspire others to make a difference in sports. The creative agency behind the campaign is 72&sunny.

The Unleash Your Creativity campaign film that was published just three weeks ago has already garnered 22 million views on YouTube.

Campaigns that walked a similar path

Prior to this Reebok and Nike both launched India-specific campaigns featuring women stars and athletes. Reebok’s #FittoFight campaign featuring women such as actor Kangana Ranaut, Paralympic sportswoman Deepa Malik, and fashion photographer Zaaria Patni, who single-handedly got alimony laws in India amended, spoke about their grit and determination to fight obstacles and succeed. The ad featuring Ranaut ended with the message, ‘How fit you are, decides how far you go. Go far. Be more. Be more human.’

Nike’s viral Da Da Ding campaign that featured Deepika Padukone and leading women athletes from India was another such campaign that focussed on the extreme abilities, strength, discipline, and determination of women athletes. The catchy Da Da Ding anthem to which the visuals were set quickly made the campaign an internet sensation. The video registered 1.2 million views on YouTube within two days of its launch.

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