In 2015, U.K. charity Sport England introduced a fresh and uplifting take on women in athletics with the celebrated "This Girl Can" ad, featuring a range of women with normal, imperfect bodies jumping, sweating, dancing, lifting and bouncing joyfully as they trained in a range of sports. Today, it debuts another exuberant ad highlighting even a broader range of female athletes, ranging from teenagers to seniors.
Created out of FCB Inferno and once again directed by Kim Gehrig via Somesuch, the ad rhythmically cuts together more euphoric scenes in which women young and old get their gear on, throw jabs, shake their booties, give birth and hug their babies. It's set to a soundtrack splicing together an energetic tune and the voiceover of Maya Angelou, reciting lines from her celebratory poem "Phenomenal Woman." Throughout, each scene follows a subtle story arc--women struggle to get out of bed, sweat through their sport, perhaps take a break to cuddle their child -- and finally revel in the endorphins and joy that comes from completing their workout.
The women highlighted in the ad include 69-year-old outdoor swimmer Sue Bairstow, 15-year-old trampolinist Cerys McIntosh, new mother Stephanie Outlaw, blade-runner Debbie Squance and kickboxer Fakhira Mohamad Hassan Mukhtar. "This second brief presented us with a huge challenge, and this time round we have focused on the roller-coaster realities of the relationship with exercise -- something that is rarely talked about," said FCB Inferno Chief Creative Officer Al Young in a statement. "We are confident this will help even more girls and women manage their fear of judgement when getting active."
"This Girl Can has made a real difference since it launched, with the number of women doing regular physical activity and sport now at an all-time high. But there's a lot more to do," said Sport England CEO Jennie Price in the statement. For the second ad, the message "is something women don't usually hear: it's OK to take a break, to have a week off, to walk not run. "It can feel like the hardest thing in the world to return ... when you fear you've lost ground or fitness, but we want to surface this as a discussion point, to say it's normal to take a break, but that needn't stop you for good.''
The spot hits primetime broadcast today and also features billboards and out of home, sporting lines including "Unleash Your Inner Beginner" or "Take Me as I Am or Watch Me As I Go." Women can also join in the campaign on social media by creating their own images with mantras on a mobile app.