For the past few years, the NFL's marketing team has been seriously going after its women fans. It's a smart move: The NFL has 79 million fans, 44% of those are women. However, the NFL, along with many other marketing teams around the country, have long lived by the "shrink it and pink it" maxim (if you're making something for women, make it smaller and/or make it pink). While women may prefer a different fit, that isn't the same thing as simply making it smaller and while some women do like pink, many others would prefer a jersey in their team colors. Since abandoning the outdated "shrink it and pink it" philosophy, the NFL has seen their sales to women significantly increase. The NFL recognized that not only are women true fans, but that they would buy "real" NFL merchandise if given real choices.
The NFL isn't the only sports-related company dedicating a fair share of their marketing budget toward women.
In an October, 2013 article in the Baltimore Business Journal, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank said that the sale of women's products made up 30% of Under Armour's business yet was outpacing the overall growth of the company, stating that "women's has the potential to be larger than men's." Therefore, it should be no surprise that Baltimore's Under Armour recently released their most expensive women's campaign to date.
The first commercial modifies their "I Will" campaign, with a new slogan of "I Will What I Want" and features Misty Copeland, the amazing American Ballet Theatre soloist who was told that she had the wrong body type and was too old to become a prima ballerina. Misty didn't start ballet until the age of 13 and was soon after considered a prodigy; she has recently been credited with making ballet more mainstream. The 60-second spot beautifully showcases her athleticism. It focuses on her muscles, her strength and her determination, rather than showing her prancing around in a tutu. For a few years now, Under Armour has done a good job of showing women competing just like men do.
While it's been changing slowly, the old mentality of marketing to women is (hopefully) ending. Making a "Floral Kiss" laptop for the ladies or a chocolate bar just for girls, isn't just ridiculous, it's offensive. Women are not a niche market. Women have a hand in 80% of all consumer purchases in a household. According to a survey on She-conomy, "Women spent 80% of all sport apparel dollars and controlled 60% of all money spent on men’s clothing." Those are numbers that should be respected, not patronized.
Hopefully the next time a major sports company launches a campaign just for women it won't be news just because it's for women.
Check out Under Armour's new Misty Copeland spot:
[youtube id="ZY0cdXr_1MA" width="620" height="360"]