Tackling students with The FA, enhancing female participation

Traditionally, students are a notoriously difficult group to target whatever industry you work in and last month we at Pitch were tasked by The FA to do just that.

Earlier this year, research from Women in Sport and the Youth Sport Trust revealed that only 56% of secondary school aged girls enjoy taking part in sport compared with 71% of boys. Why would these girls who don’t enjoy obligatory exercise in school continue taking part once they move on to further or higher education?

This is something The FA is looking to address.

And so we were tasked to create a campaign that would reach female higher and further education students as part of FA Girls’ Football Week and encourage them to see sport and in particular football in a new light.

In order to reach our target audience we needed to understand them better.

Social media holds the key to reaching young people, and we know Instagram is most popular with young women. This would provide a platform to reach our target audience on, but how would we connect with them.

We know this demographic are not engaging with football in the manner it is currently being portrayed, so we needed to show it in a new light. We needed to come with a new approach and utilise a familiar point of reference, someone or something popular with female students.

Based on these insights, we decided to partner with buddy health and fitness duo Twice the Health, to launch this year’s FA Girls’ Football Week on Instagram. Football novices Twice the Health, met at Cardiff University and since then they have developed a following of over 50k across social media, appealing directly to a target audience of young women interested in keeping fit and the latest trends in the health and fitness industry.

For this piece of content we teamed Twice the Health with England star Nikita Parris, to create a video focused on the fun and social aspects of taking part in football. Most importantly, the drills and routines that would make up the video would be more closely aligned to the buddy work-outs and training routines  seen on the social media accounts of celebrity personal trainers and fitness influencers. Watch the end result here.

Beyond the launch video we also worked Twice the Health and The FA to produce a user-generated-content campaign to engage university and college students online. The campaign, #JoinOurSquad, called on students to share their ‘Squad Selfies’ for the chance to win prizes and encourage their friends to give football a go.

The end results were fascinating, the Instagram launch video currently stands at more than 2,100 views on Twice the Health’s Instagram page.  That’s 2,100 opportunities to reach our target audience of young women who currently do not engage with football, and 2,100 opportunities for our target audience to reconsider the sport as something they can take part in.

Further Reading