A new mascot is making its debut heading into the first WNBA game on Canadian soil. But rather than represent a team, this mascot represents equality in sport. Meet Ally Hoop: The Equal Pay Mascot.
Toronto creative agency Hard Work Club created the mascot and supporting awareness campaign for Fast and Female, a charitable organization empowering girls through sport and physical activity.
The agency worked with 1stAveMachine to bring “Ally” to life in an animated video—during which she does a mascot-style hype dance—as well as digital billboards, in-restaurant posters and on the social feeds of professional athletes and influencers from a range of sports and athletic disciplines. “Ally Hoop” t-shirts and merchandise are also being sold on the Fast and Female website, with all proceeds going towards the cause.
The campaign is based on a shocking statistic: Rocky the Mountain Lion, the mascot for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, is paid three times more than the highest-paid WNBA player.
“That stat alone shows just how far today’s female athletes still need to come in the fight for equality” said Gabriela Estrada, Executive Director, Fast and Female.
“Campaigns around equality are often sport montages treated with an earnest tone that detractors simply tune out,” said Meghan Kraemer, Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director, Hard Work Club. “We saw an opportunity to come at the issue differently, with a sense of fun that disarms the ‘haters’ in the comment sections of female athletes’ feeds”
“The campaign approach is an unconventional way to call attention to a serious issue,” added Estrada. “A mascot’s role is to hype fans, so why not hype them up to be more engaged in pushing for pay equity?”
According to the Canadian Women and Sport Rally Report, by age 16, one out of three girls who play sports drops out by age 16, versus one out of 10 boys the same age.
Canadian women's soccer player Janine Beckie and Canadian WNBA player Laeticia Amihere are the spokespersons for the campaign.
Beckie has been a vocal advocate in the ongoing wage battle with Soccer Canada.
“Women’s sports are advancing because of people in sports doing exactly this - choosing to fight for better,” said Beckie.
“We can’t sit on the sidelines and hope for change. We need fans to join the movement: buy merchandise, tune into games on TV, share opinions publicly, bring friends to events, call out sexism and hold humanity to a higher standard. There are so many great ways to get involved, but we need to keep raising the bar for visibility.”
“I want little girls and young women everywhere to know that women’s sports are only going up from here,” said Amihere. “You can make it; I promise you can. It is important to me to help pave a way for young women.
As Ally says, ‘aim high,’ because basketball is on the rise for women. Just watch.” The campaign launches before the first-ever WNBA game played in Canada at Scotiabank Arena, and has robust influencer support featuring Canadian Olympians, athletes and broadcasters on Instagram and TikTok.
The campaign is further supported by digital out of home, in-restaurant posters and a social media buy.
About Fast and Female: Fast and Female is a Canadian charity on a mission to empower self-identified girls aged 8 to 14 through sport and physical activity. Founded in 2005, Fast and Female believes in the power of positive sport experiences and role models to give girls leadership, teamwork and resiliency skills. For more information, visit https://fastandfemale.com.
About Hard Work Club: Hard Work Club is an advertising and design company that makes heart-grabbing work, for hard-working brands. For more information visit https://www.hardworkclub.com/
Client: Fast and Female
Title: Ally Hoop: The Equal Pay Mascot
Media: Video, Social, DOOH, On-Premise Print, Swag + Influencer Kits
Client: Fast and Female
Executive Director: Gabriela Estrada
Program Manager: Madison Danford
Program Coordinator: Morgyn Engman
Agency: Hard Work Club
Co-Founder / Executive Creative Director: Meghan Kraemer
Design: Dameon Neath
Production Designer / Studio Manager: Amanda Braun
Head of Integrated Production: Monika Ghobrial
Director of Brand Leadership: Lindsay Day
Director of Project Management: Cecilia Hui
Partner / Brand Strategy + Growth: Cameron Stark
Production Company: 1stAveMachine
Executive Producer: Leticia Christoph
Executive Producer: Sabrina Elizondo
Creative Director: Jon Lorenz
Animator / Compositor : Jon Lorenz
Photography Agency: Fuze Reps
Photographer: Geneviéve Charbonneau
Production: Nicole Gomez
Production: Devyn Hill
Makeup: P1M Artist Management
Makeup Artist: Leandro Avanco
Audio Mixing: SNDWRx
Creative Director: Didier Tovel
Engineer/Sound Designers : Alex Gluch, Colin Brown
Artist: Tinamina “Let’s Get This Money”
PR + Influencer: Hype PR
Founder: Erin Richards
Communications Strategist: Kerline Hall
Communications Director: Brigitte Kenny
Media: Vendo Media and Bell Media