Women and cycling – 2016 marketing I love

I’m always interested in how women are portrayed in cycling media, and I talk about the bad, of course, but also the good – and I was already collecting examples of great advertising, when this popped up in my twitter-stream:

This is such an amazing move!  For years, the ‘Assos Girls’ – topless models wearing bibshorts and caressing their boobs, jerseys allegedly advertised to women with a woman on her knees in stilettos and spray-on PVC leggings (check out the 2nd photo here, and read the post, it’s hilarious!) have been an embarrassment to cycling for years.  My post about the Assos Girl, and cycling companies who market well to women has had one of the biggest number of hits since I posted it in 2013 (despite all the pictures having disappeared because they’re all gone from the sites now).  So of course I immediately clicked through to the Ella Cycling Tips article to see what’s going on – and I loved the quotes from the new Assos CEO Phil Duff, including:

“Yes, I am quite painfully aware of how Assos has portrayed women in the past,” said Duff, who had been an Assos customer himself since its founding days.  “Not only do I know that from the market place, but in my first few weeks of getting involved with the Assos, I’d come home every night and my wife would say, ‘when the hell are you getting the naked women off their website?’”

and

“There are some things that are changing, particularly with respect to the customer-facing side of this company, one of which is that everyone here is now fully on board that we are now going to portray women the same way we portray men –as athletes,”

So hooray, Assos is now off my personal blacklist!  Their site is completely down, in development, but you can sign up to get notified when they’re back.

And one other good thing to celebrate?  It’s clear from Duff’s comments, and the comments from USA Cycling about their relationship with the company, that public opinion played a big part in this too – so when we see terrible advertising (‘I hate Jeffsy‘, #Sockgate, Six Six One’s kneepad imagery, the Maxxis calendar, to name some recent examples), talking, writing and tweeting about it may not have an immediate effect, but it does help effect change – isn’t that great to know?

So, onwards to more good that I’ve seen so far this year.  I’ve talked about these in podcasts and elsewhere on the site, but they’re so good, they deserve to be celebrated.  As always, if you’ve got 2016 examples of cycling marketing featuring women, please do share with me, in the comments, on twitter or on tumblr, and I’ll put up a second post.  And as usual, I get no benefits, incentives or rewards for talking about these – it’s just things I personally like.

Liv Cycling’s #ActuallyICan

The most recent advert I loved was from Liv Cycling, part of their #ActuallyICan campaign.  In my defense, I was feeling ill when I saw it, but it really did give me a lump in my throat – the moment when the cyclist stopped, looking exhausted, and then carried on.  It sounds so cheesy, but done so well.  I love the different kinds of women, and the way it shows what’s awesome about achieving in sport.

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Marketing and Bullshit: Part 3 The Importance of Being Relevant

So fuck, haven’t we just infected poor little Sarah with the marketing bug? She’s been writing all sorts of shit about advertising sport, cycling and cycling clothing to women. I’d encourage you to catch up on her excellent series of posts about the Adidas #mygirls campaign, marketing to women and cycling clothing for women before we go any further down the rabbit hole. After all, it pays to know what you’re getting yourself into.

In the meantime, here’s a little something to welcome Sarah officially to the dark side:

It’s funny because it’s true. Now come on over for another stroll through the wonders and delights of all the power the dark side has to offer as we explore fragmented markets and the importance of being relevant.

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How not to try to sell cycling clothing to women – and three companies who get it right

So, on Sunday I mentioned the Assos ad that was featured in Fatcyclist’s blog – the one where the woman’s on her knees in spray-on, wet-look trousers and stilettos, and they admit, in the advert, that the jersey has been designed for men to look at rather than for women to cycle in….  and although I promised myself I was leaving the marketing posts to Dan from now on, I wondered if maybe we were being mean about Assos, and decided not to judge them on the strength of one advert alone.  Guess what?  It actually gets worse!

Firstly, rocking up on their front page and flicking through their slideshow, there’s a weird thing where all the photos of products for men are illustrated with photos of men riding bikes…..  and those for women with models standing or kneeling around with porn faces.  So far, so bad.  But how, I wondered, would they show off the actual clothing?  Why, like this!

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Marketing, cycling and women

It’s been one of those weeks, where suddenly I’m seeing all kinds of things about marketing, cycling and women, so here’s a selection of links to some things I found interesting.

Firstly, I am still in love with the adidas #mygirls campaign.  You can read my thoughts here, but more and more things keep hitting me about it – for example, isn’t how they show hair interesting?  Usually sports adverts have women with long, glossy hair cascading out behind the woman – and I have to say, that’s never how my (admittedly long, blonde) hair looked in any sports I did.  There’s the interesting cultural differences highlighted in Bara’ah in Jordan wearing her hijab, and Asisat in Nigeria with hers in plaits, that adds to the whole “united around the world” vibe, while feeling very natural – but Hannah‘s hair is tied back and hidden by a bike helmet, and Ingrid‘s is tied back and wet from the water – and I think that just accentuates the aspirational, real vibe – this is how we look when we do sports, and don’t we look great?

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I’ve mentioned Collyn Ahart‘s writing on the blog before, but there are some articles she wrote that she linked to in her #mygirls post that I really liked.  Collyn does a lot of work on marketing and brand strategy, and I loved her post on sports marketing to women, the issues with the three main ways sports brands target women:

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adidas – #mygirls

Sometimes I see an advert that just grabs me, and says something so right, that makes me smile so much, that I think “fuck it, from now on, I’m only ever buying from you”.  Yes, I know the primary goal is to make money, but bloody hell, the adidas #mygirls campaign does so much more, I can’t stop watching the ads.  Here’s the cycling filmette, featuring Hannah Walker of Matrix Fitness Racing Academy and a group of young British cycling girls like Penny Rowson and Eli Thorogood of the Breast Cancer Care Cycling Team.  And below the jump I’ll try to be a bit more sensible about why I love these ads.

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