Sport England - This Girl Can (2015) 1:30 (UK)

Absolutely brilliant slice of advertising here from FCB Inferno, showing once again that the UK is miles ahead in the advertising game (Say something America. Say something).

This campaign for Sport England is focussed around the central insight that women will often avoid exercising due to fears of being judged and feeling out of place. Basically 'I am fat and therefore I shouldn't exercise because I will look stupid and sweaty.' Of course, this is the exact situation where we should be trying to fit a little more exercise into our lives. FCB Inferno does the opposite of what we might expect and writes an ad which embraces that sweat and jiggle, normalises it, and brings it into the public discourse. It's aversion therapy for serial gym avoiders. By far my favourite ad of the New Year - it actively promotes lifestyle change and powerfully articulates a message which can shape ideas and ultimately even culture. This is what advertising should be about this. This is why we wake up in the morning.

Just to prove to you that the Guardian is hitting rock bottom with brainless drivel, they published this piece on their 'Comment is Free' blog - Comment is Worthless would be a better title:

"There are serious problems here. For a start, why does the campaign undermine this empowering intent by referring to women of all ages as “girls”? ... The text that goes along with these images is infused with popular post-feminist appeals to individual empowerment – “I jiggle, therefore I am”. This “can-do girl” is happy “sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox” and embracing being “hot and not bothered”. It seems these bodies, jiggly or otherwise, are just another form of objectification in a popular culture already saturated with sexualised images."

I'd write a rebuttal, but to put it simply: Really? Are you taking random words and throwing them together to see what mindless and pointless drivel you can regurgitate? Here we have an excellent, extremely thoughtful and insightful campaign, executed in an evocative and powerful way, and the naysayers in the media come out to play. The reason why the brilliant brains at FCB Inferno pushed out a brave ad like this, was to change behaviours. Taking the negative stereotype of being out of breath, sweaty, jiggly, looking a mess and celebrating, championing and normalising it with humour they strive to make exercise more accessible to women. This isn't even a gendered insight at its most intrinsic level. It's what we all aspire too – a psychological insight; a genuine behavioural observation on the nuances of human nature.

Advertising Agency: FCB Inferno, UK
Managing Director: Sharon Jiggins
Creative Director: Bryn Attewell
Art Director: Raymond Chan
Copywriter: Simon Cenamor
Planning Director: Vicki Holgate
Senior Account Director: Hollie Loxley
Producer: Ally Mee
Media Company: Carat
Production Company: Somesuch
Executive Producer: Tim Nash
Director: Kim Gehrig
DP: David Procter
Producer: Lee Groombridge
Editor: Tom Lindsay / Trim
Post-production Producers: Andrew McLintock, Adam Sergant
Post-production: Framestore
Audio post-production: Wave Sound Studios
Music Company / Sound Design: Soundtree

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Dabitch's picture

We are in opposite camps on this one. I loathe this ad.

And, hullo, I'm probably the target market.

I get where the idea stems from, drop all the aspirations of looking good when exercising, because that won't happen, which is a fine insight on it's own if that was the only thing preventing people from going to the gym and the sole cause of obesity. Which it's not. But then to take that (mediocre) insight and actually turn it into a camera that ogles jiggly ass and pan-zooms into bouncing breasts - dudes, wasn't the insight just now that women were self-conscious at the gym, swimming pool, and jiggling around during aerobics? How does cinematically leering at all these women help that? Oh it's empowering now, because it's on the telly? Really, now.

And to top it all off, you're calling women girls. I'm a woman, thank you very much, and so are the women in the advert. Quite simply, it's a fine line to balance and this is no Nike: Find your greatness pep talk, is it? It's also no "My butt is big" poem about a thousand lunges creating a fit body, not a model body. This ad is in a word you English use with such perfection, shite.