Sportsgirl introduces its first ‘Sportsboy’

Since launching its ‘Be that girl’ campaign in August 2018, Sportsgirl has shifted its communication strategy away from the clothes it sells and towards the topics its customers truly care about, such as diversity, inclusion, creativity, confidence and ambition.

Now, the fashion retailer is practicing what it preaches with the debut of the first Sportsboy in ‘Be heard’, the fourth instalment of its ‘Be that girl’ campaign which launched this month, featuring 10 new faces in total.

Makeup artist Jacob Stella, pictured on the front cover, joins transgender influencer and LGBTQI+ activist AJ Clementine, body positive activist Kate Wasley, financial adviser Victoria Devine, influencer and environmentalist Inka Williams, journalist and present Grace Koh, artist and writer Sabina McKenna, beauty entrepreneur and Bread Beauty Supply founder Maeva Heim, human rights journalist Mikele Syron and Australian paralympic athlete Erin Cleaver, in encouraging young people in Australia to be true to themselves and talk about the issues that are important to them.

In addition to outdoor and digital advertising, the ‘Be heard’ campaign involves a series of unscripted and honest films with each of the brand advocates, in which they discuss what’s on their mind and how they have turned obstacles into triumphs.

“Whatever you get bullied for in high school is your strength,” Stella said in a statement about the campaign. “Society is getting a lot better at accepting boys in makeup but I still think we have a long way to go.”

Breaking down stereotypes

Young people have been at the forefront of the movement to break down traditional stereotypes and expectations around gender, sexuality and identity, and it’s important that retailers keep pace with them, according to Sportsgirl CEO Colleen Callander.

“We must remember that this generation has different behaviours to previous generations and we need to evolve with them,” Callander told Inside Retail Weekly.

“When shopping, we are seeing a trend that young women want more than just a transactional purchase and often select brands to shop with who align with their personal values and interests.”

For Sportsgirl, this not only means showing diversity in its campaigns – though it’s important to do so to reflect the multicultural Australian society – but actually involving customers in the campaigns.

“As a relevant brand we must understand what they are interested in and we can only achieve this by asking questions and providing a platform for these interests to be shared,” Callander said.

This sets Sportsgirl apart from the majority of brands, which aren’t doing enough to connect with youthful audiences, according to Saskia Fairfull, founder of the Independent Fashion Advisory Board (IFAB).

“I’m not sure brands with a youthful audience are making an effort to actively talk to young women and people who identify as female,” Fairfull told IRW.

“Social listening and replying to comments on channels isn’t enough. There should be activations available to bring brand communities together to listen and learn.”

While there will always be those who view such efforts cynically, or call out brands for jumping on the diversity bandwagon, Fairfull said businesses should act anyway.

“Some companies may see it as a marketing ploy, but so is everything when it’s new and risky. The best thing brands can do right now is show clearly who and what they stand for,” she said.

Sportsgirl said it is committed to its ‘Be that girl’ campaign for the long term.

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