So it looks like the UK’s biggest selling daily The Sun didn’t quite ditch photographs of topless women after 45 years?
The Sun’s ‘have they, haven’t they‘ behaviour seems to have seriously misread the mood, and succeeeded in generating more publicity for campaign group NoMorePage3.org
What can we learn from the campaign? A lot. Particularly around growing a ‘movement’. With tiny budgets, the volunteer-led group works social media hard with 37,000+ followers on twitter including influential politicos and celebs. The website offers ways to get involved with info on local groups and great free downloads, as well as tee-shirts and other revenue raisers. And they tried some fun campaign tactics along the way. They didn’t achieve their aim of a Christmas no.1 single, but as a PR hook it was still a big hit.
With such momentum behind them it will be interesting to see what the network does next. I yearn for a time when a female politician is covered for her views not her shoes; and women’s sport is given more than a token reference. We all know sexism and misogyny in the media extends far beyond page 3. But it’s an important start. As the campaign said ‘because boobs aren’t news’.
Words and pictures can change minds. That’s why they’re so powerful. But working in and around sport and physical activity, I have seen how some well meaning campaigns fail to hit the mark. Words that haven’t quite done it or images that fail to inspire.
The ‘This Girl Can‘ campaign (funded by Sport England) stands out. Great care has been taken with the images. Strong agencies with backgrounds in behavioural change have delivered a fun and powerful creative. No models have been used in the print or video, so we can enjoy some great ‘behind the scenes’ content from the women involved. This ‘case study‘ approach has long been championed by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation. Fewer women than men are active, and surveys cite fear of judgement as one of the barriers to getting involved. But a surprising number of health, sports and physical activity promoting organisations (including some national governing bodies) still use stock shots in their materials. Or confuse the celebration of elite athlete success with inspiring the rest of us to take part.
There may be a discussion to be had on the use of ‘girls’ to mean women but on the strength of the refreshing images and the aims of the campaign, it’s easy to support ‘This Girl Can’