Young girls in sports should dare to ‘Dream Crazier’

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Sporty or not sporty? Girls are getting turned off sports at an early age. Here’s Rhian Harries’ take on the terrifying stats from Women in Sport and that new Nike advert ‘Dream Crazier’ that has everyone talking… 

Now, not a lot of people know this, but I lead somewhat of a double life! By day I’m Creative Director of a brilliant new start up agency Commotion but in my own time I’m a sweaty, gym nut who loves nothing better than to attack the squat rack with a casual 102kg for 8 reps. Now for those of you who don’t care for the gym this will mean nothing to you but for me at a slight 5ft 6, weighing in at 67kg this is a personal best. Imagine how excited I was when my worlds collided at Campaign’s Future Fit, giving me a chance to find out how big brands are engaging their audiences through sport.

Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight, Sport England was our host for the day. Her passion and clear commitment to her topic was enlightening and a breath of fresh air. She drove the conversation and offered significant support and experience to all the speakers. What struck me most about the event was the passion for the topic of sport. Rarely do you attend a conference in which most speakers are so engaging. Sorry to be so frank but it’s true, we have all been there!

I was most enamoured by Kate Nicholson, Head of Insight and Innovation and Wendy Hawk, Head of Fundraising from Women in Sport whose terrifying stats show ‘only 10% of 11-13yo girls have the recommended level of activity a day, 44% of 13-15yo girls are overweight and only 18% of girls are ‘very happy’ a drop of 20% in 8yrs’. Most heart breaking of all was to hear that girls as young as five are dismissing sport which frames their view of physical activity for the rest of their lives. They also revealed that as young women enter their teenage years, we define ourselves as ‘sporty’ or ‘non-sporty’ and this sets us apart psychologically as we continue to grow and develop as women. Just this week, the Mail Online had a lead article referring to the Duchess of Cambridge as ‘Sporty Kate’ which later changed to ‘Action woman Kate!’

This struck a chord for me, as I too was the ‘sporty girl’, badly bullied at school I found solace in sport and exercise but as I continued my academic career and followed a creative path, life took over. It is only now as I approach my late thirties that I value the benefits of exercise to my mental and physical well-being. In truth it helps me to cope with the pressures of life, be a nicer person and to be true to myself. I have though always done my sport with no fear of judgement or concern for my appearance, it has allowed me to be myself and sod those that would judge me. Which leads me onto my next point.

Being authentic was a point raised by pretty much all the speakers. It’s a word I fear we over use and under estimate the value of especially when we are talking to our client’s audiences.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of authentic states: ‘relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive and responsible mode of human life’ and this is what accentuates my point. As producers of content we have a responsibility to be authentic with our story telling, to consider the emotional appropriateness of films whilst supporting brands in connecting with real people. Yes, we can be an authentic brand and we should be true and honest to the brand values but the people we are talking to, trying to support us and rally around our brand message shouldn’t we be true to them too? And allow them to be true to themselves? Shouldn’t we be teaching our young women this, to discover themselves without fear of judgement and to tackle their barriers head on? I take my hat off to Nike and their latest Campaign ‘Dream Crazier’ and I implore you to watch it, because this is what we need to be doing for our young women. I only wish we could recreate this with the young girls in the Women in Sport data because you need to know it’s okay to be you and you don’t need to be defined by ‘sporty’ or ‘non-sporty’ because sport and exercise is for all of us and it can help make you, you.


Blog written by Rhian Harries, Creative Director at Commotion.

Contact Rhian for more at: or call: +44 (0)20 7963 7738


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