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Pete Jeavons, Director of Marketing Communications on why EE is taking aim at sexism in football.
“It is increasingly important for brands to use their voice to instigate social change and draw attention to those topics which, although potentially uncomfortable, must be confronted and discussed."
Pete Jeavons, Director of Marketing Communications at EE, is explaining the ethos behind the brand’s latest iteration of the groundbreaking Hope United campaign ‘Not Her Problem’, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, which takes aim at the sexism and online hate facing female football players.
In a reflection of the shift from brands simply raising awareness of a problem, to providing their platforms and brand muscle to be part of the solution, Jeavon added: “EE will not shy away from using our platform to do just that and, through campaigns such as Hope United, help educate and upskill the nation in whatever way we can in order to help create a healthier and more positive digital community.”
This year, we’re bringing our fight against online hate to the Women’s Euros, because we, like many, believe not enough is being done to tackle sexist hate.Franki Goodwin, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi
The visceral campaign is the next iteration of the groundbreaking Hope United campaign. The action-orientated approach marks a step change from the typical women’s empowerment campaigns which have simply admired a problem or relied on a narrative in which women are victims and men simply bystanders.
Rather than focusing on the impact of sexist abuse on female players in isolation the campaign instead encourages men to own and challenge the problem of sexist abuse online and elsewhere. Ultimately as men are the central perpetrators, online sexist hate is a man’s issue to solve. The TV spot declares sexist hate stops with men, in a refreshingly straightforward strategy.
Marc Allera, CEO of EE explained: “While the majority will be rightly giving their support to the athletes competing in the Women’s Euros this summer, there will be the vocal minority trying to denounce and discredit the women’s game.
He continued: “Now, more than ever, it is imperative we come together to champion hope over hate, placing the onus on men to own the problem: this is why EE Hope United will continue to help shape a safer online world, giving others the confidence and knowhow to help call out and put a stop to online sexist hate.”
This Hope United squad will be managed by England head coach Gareth Southgate, a leader who exemplifies active allyship. Southgate has urged men to do better, arguing that they are uniquely positioned to help bring sexism and misogyny to an end. Both by monitoring their own behaviour, but also by calling it out each and every time they see it.
Players included in the TV spot and the Hope United squad include England’s Lucy Bronze, Scotland para-footballer Rebecca Sella, Northern Ireland’s Marissa Callaghan and England’s Jordan Henderson.
It is increasingly important for brands to use their voice to instigate social change and draw attention to those topics which, although potentially uncomfortable, must be confronted and discussed.Pete Jeavons, Director of Marketing Communications at EE
The campaign is a compelling example of the innovation which comes hand in hand with viewing the world through a lens other than your own.
Online sexism is not a niche issue; in fact, it is an everyday experience for women online. According to a recent YouGov survey commissioned by EE, over half (52%) of the UK public don’t feel the internet is a safe space for women. While 60% of the UK believe that not enough is being done to tackle online and offline misogyny.
The campaign kicks off this week and will run throughout the UEFA Women’s EURO. While the tournament hasn’t even started yet it has already broken records underlining the untapped sponsorship potential of the women’s game. The tournament has surpassed a record 500,000 ticket sales; more than double the previous tournament in 2017.
The ‘Not Her Problem’ campaign will run across EE’s social and digital channels and on outdoor sites. While the TV spot will be broadcast across commercial TV channels.
The EE Hope United squad will also feature in a video content series sharing digital skills; free online resources that will educate on how to challenge and report online hate against women. The topics covered will include how to block accounts, report online hate, mute and filter offensive content and how to diversify your social media feed by following more female voices.
In addition, EE has partnered with The Mill and HateLab, a global hub for data and insight into hate speech and crime, to provide each player with their own personalised Hope United shirt. Using behavioural data, which scrapes information from each player’s social media account.
These shirts show a visual representation of how people are talking about them online.
The technology translates emotions associated with hope (such as love, empathy or inspiration) and hate (for example, racial or gender discrimination) into a visual colour and style, creating a unique design for each squad member. The shirts will also be available to purchase with proceeds going to anti-cyberbullying non-profit organisation, Cybersmile.
Franki Goodwin, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, added: “This year, we’re bringing our fight against online hate to the Women’s Euros, because we, like many, believe not enough is being done to tackle sexist hate.”
She continued: “So, while we cheer on our Lionesses this summer, we’re also using the opportunity to inspire men to take more of the burden and help tackle the issue of online and offline sexism, helping our partners at EE continue to make life online safer and happier for people in the UK.”
Hope United was created by Saatchi & Saatchi, with PR run by Pitch Marketing Group, Digitas UK handling reactive social and media buying by Essence.
While marketing commentators were talking themselves in circles as to whether we have reached ‘peak purpose’ in marketing communications BT and Saatchi & Saatchi were investing in tackling the very real societal damage caused by online hate.
“Tackling such a complex issue in a campaign takes alchemy, it starts with a shared ambition to take on the issue head-on,” explained. Sarah Jenkins, Managing Director at Saatchi & Saatchi. Jenkins discussed the journey BT and Saatchi & Saatchi embarked on with Pete Jeavons, Director of Marketing Communications at EE and Will John, Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi.
You can watch the Hope United discussion here
Or read the key themes from the event round up here
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