Content brand of the week: Sport England, the brand inspiring women to get active

I’ll never support England again, not after that shambolic World Cup showing…

Your head’s stuck between the posts! I’m not talking about the national football team – and at least they didn’t get demolished 7-1! Sport England is the national public body committed to investment in developing sport across the country.

Ah, so it’s a non-commercial brand then?

Yes, that’s correct. But even Sport England is using content to achieve its goals. The company is dedicated to creating a vibrant sporting culture by encouraging more and more people to participate in sport at a grassroots level.

What sort of content are they producing?

You may have seen Sport England’s latest campaign called ‘This Girl Can’ which aims to address the gender gap in sport and exercise and encourage women to get active. The advert premiered recently to an audience of over 7 million during one of Coronation Street’s intermissions and is intent on changing attitudes towards women in sport. It’s already amassed over 5 million hits on YouTube.

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I didn’t know so many people watched Corrie!

Neither did I…Of course, that sort of prime time TV advertising is paid content (which we’re less interested in). Likewise, the billboards I’ve seen on the tube and spread across the metropolis – they appear to really want to get the message across!

And what message is that?

Running on nicely from Monday’s sexy MF, the advert features your average women – none of those unattainably pristine looking TV personalities that normally populate our screens – getting their freak on to Missy Elliott and not giving a damn about how they look. Empowering, sweat-inducing and inspiring.

I jiggle, therefore I am.

But can you wiggle…? What we’re really interested in, however, is the way that Sport England has backed up its above-the-line advertising with some auxiliary content online and essentially created a brand under the This Girl Can banner. As well as the advert successfully conveying the reality of exercising, This Girl Can has its own attractive website that directly leads you to all the films made for the campaign with special Behind the Scenes videos that emphasise the ‘normal’ lives of these individual women. It gives a personal ‘real-life’ touch to the content that the viewers can relate to.

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That sounds like owned content to me.

Yes, that’s right. Sport England has created a channel for conversation around female participation in sport and has incorporated both owned and earned content into the This Girl Can website. The website, supported by the social media activity with the hashtag #ThisGirlCan, shows the perfect example of a hub of social engagement grouped together on one visually stimulating feed. It forms something of a montage celebrating women in sport while the campaign has already garnered lots of support on both Twitter and Facebook.

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Didn’t you say it was a not-for-profit organisation? What is it selling?

Yes, that is true, but it is still a brand, and one that is using content as a means of boosting its campaign. The brand isn’t so much as selling a product as promoting a message – and a good message at that. The fact a non-commercial brand recognises the importance of content marketing is telling…

I’ve gotta run – zumba is calling!

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