‘Authentic stories’: How VicHealth will localise the This Girl Can campaign

The Victorian Government is set to use “authentic stories” from women as it looks to localise the successful This Girl Can campaign for the Australian market and make it the backbone of its health promotions for the next three years.

Stefan Grun, VicHealth’s executive marketing manager, told Mumbrella that the initiative aims to challenge an “ingrained culture” that means females are “incredibly harsh” on themselves.

This Girl Can was a hugely successful campaign that launched in 2015 in the UK that showed girls of all shapes and sizes exercising.

With the tagline “I jiggle therefore I am”, it aimed to address a statistic that 41% of British girls were too embarrassed to exercise in public.

Tanya Joseph, the architect of the original campaign, is a keynote speaker at Mumbrella’s Health and Wellness Marketing Summit next month.

The original UK version attracted more than 16 million views on YouTube and Facebook and showed women of all ages jogging, jumping and sweating while exercising.

Sport England, the body that ran the camopaign, estimate This Girl Can inspired 2.8m more British women to get more active. It was also widely awarded inside the industry, and won the Glass Lion at Cannes for helping overcome inequality for women.

Grun said: “It’s unfortunately mostly women that do feel this. We found many people are embarrassed exercising in public. They think they lack the appropriate skills or feel guilty for prioritising themselves over their children and family.

Culturally it’s fine for a dad to go to the gym, but not mum.

“Women are incredibly harsh judges of themselves and feel like they are being judged by other women. That’s a much stronger reaction than what they perceive is the judgement from men. It’s a personal fear about how other women view them.”

Before the launch of the campaign, VicHealth, the government body that promotes wellness in Victoria, unveiled statistics revealing that 41% of women were too embarrassed to exercise in public, and 46% similarly found gyms intimidating.

For the first time, Grun unveiled concrete details of the campaign and promised it will be entirely new.

“It will be localised and we’ll be starting from scratch. The campaign will go live in February and feature local Victorian women.

“It’s real women, not paid actors or models. They’re authentic stories – not agency-scripted lines.”

The campaign is currently advertising for people to get involved. The final initiative will include a TV commercial, print ads and outdoor, but the hope is that it will attract a similarly large social following to the original.

“We want to show girls hot and sweaty and enjoying themselves without having to worry about how glamorous they look or having to conform to typical images they see in the media,” he said.

The scheme will also reach out to local gyms, swimming pools and activity centres to help them embrace the campaign’s principles.

“Every sporting organisation in Victoria can work with us, providing they’re presenting classes that are appropriate for women and girls.”

While Grun wouldn’t comment on its budget, he promised that this would be VicHealth’s biggest campaign for the foreseeable future.

“We’ve got a three-year strategy and it’s the major focus for our organisation from a campaign perspective. It’s going to also get a major push from the state government.

“We want to get across the message that’s it’s OK to present yourself naturally and authentically and that you don’t have to try and photoshop images to make yourself look unrealistic.”

“It was such a successful campaign in the UK and we wanted to replicate that here. The fundamental insight is the same in the UK and Victoria.

“The other exciting thing with our Sport England partnership is that they have shared so much of their learning and insight. That’s been beneficial for our team in Victoria. We don’t have to make the same mistakes as they did in the early stages. This is a genuine collaboration. It’s not just sharing logos – their team has given us significant insight.”

The move comes after the successful launch in 2015 of the Women’s Big Bash League and also women’s AFL in February.

The Mumbrella Health & Wellness Marketing Summit takes place on September 6 at the Amora Jamison Hotel in Sydney. See the program and get tickets by clicking the banner below.



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