2022 Winner

GoldCause/Public Service

GoldSocial/Conversational Strategy

GoldGame Changer

BronzeBudget-Savvy Strategy

BronzeCreative Catalyst

YWCA Metro Vancouver
"Add The M"
Rethink

CASE SUMMARY

If you search “FIFA top international goal scorer” on Google, Cristiano Ronaldo comes up - despite the fact that Canada’s Christine Sinclair and three other women are ahead of him.

Men’s sports are considered the default for all sports, which not only devalues women’s sports, but leaves them out of the conversation entirely. This is apparent in the language we use: men’s sports are just called sports, while women’s sports are distinctly called “women’s sports”.

Whether it’s funding, world records, TV slots or advertising campaigns, the sports world focuses on male athletes as the default, and women athletes as a secondary other. This disparity in the perception and treatment of men’s and women’s sports is part of a systemic problem affecting everything from representation and media coverage to pay equity and opportunity for female athletes.

It’s no wonder that 1 in 3 Canadian girls drop out of sport by adolescence, compared to just 1 in 10 boys. As the world of sport continues to make female athletes and their achievements less visible and less valuable, girls around the world struggle to find female athletes they can look up to.

Have you ever noticed that women’s sports are always prefaced with a “W” for “women’s sports”, while men’s sports are just called “sports”? YWCA added the M to the four biggest, most established men’s sports logos in North America to raise awareness for gender inequity in sport.

They wanted to continue its track record of fighting for gender equity; this time, through the lens of women’s sports. With no media budget to support the campaign, they knew that the creative idea had to be inherently buzzworthy; something that people felt compelled to talk about.

By adding an M to the logos of the NBA, NHL, MLS and PGA, we can see how absurd it is to isolate and silo women’s sports with the W, especially as our thinking evolves beyond the gender binary.

Once they had the idea and creative execution, they knew they needed influential voices to help start a conversation in order to affect systemic change. So they targeted key sports figures, women and men, who were known for being vocal about gender equity.

They reached out first to soccer legend Christine Sinclair, and then recruited sports media personalities Blake Murphy, Jennifer Hedger, Tara Slone, and Donnovan Bennett. Early support from these advocates was critical to giving the campaign credibility and expanding their reach organically.

Once they had those pieces in place — a driving insight, a sticky creative execution, a brave client, and the support of influential advocates — they were ready to launch.

The campaign was launched on YWCA social channels across Canada with a video that told the story of the initiative, and featured videos of their supporters showing their support. Their supporters also posted the launch video on their social channels to help amplify the message.

To ensure the message went far and wide, they pitched the story to media outlets to further the conversation. Then they created multiple ways for supporters to spread the word, with sweaters and stickers in the real world, free downloadable badges, and digital M stickers so people could hack logos on Instagram, all tied together with the call to action and hashtag #addtheM.

They made a simple change to league logos to highlight a very complex issue - one that, for far too long, has gone undiscussed. After all, a great creative idea doesn’t always require significant investment in order to have impact, and Add The M is a perfect example of that.

Add The M made headlines across the globe in over 170 publications, achieving a total overall reach of over 102 million impressions at the time of writing. Soon, people around the world started to add the M to more league logos - the Women’s Football Fan Collective, for example, added the M to the English Premier League, as well as other leagues and cups.

Best of all? They started a conversation with absolutely no paid media support behind it, achieving an earned media value of over 46,000% above their investment. They let girls around the world know that their achievements, both within sports and beyond, matter. This is the first step to levelling the playing field, and we've got a lot more work to do.

Credits

Chief Creative Officer: Aaron Starkman
Executive Creative Director: Mike Dubrick
Creative Catalyst CSO: Sean McDonald
Creative Catalyst Strategy Director: Nicole Rajesky
Head of Art: Joel Holtby
Creative Director: Leia Rogers
ACD/Art Director: Skye Deluz, Hayley Hinkley
ACD/Copywriter: Jacquelyn Parent
CSO: Sean McDonald
Strategy Director: Nicole Rajesky
Producer: Teresa Bayley, Kyle Hicks
Editor: Tyler Erdalac, Thomas McKeen
Sound Editor: Grayson Music
Developer: Brad Stapleton, Steve Lam
Group Account Director: Kat McKeen
Account Director: Kennedy Crawford
Account Manager: Nicole Kerrigan
Account Manager: Jessie Durand
Strategic Communications Lead: Meredith Montgomery
Account Director: Sara Lemmermeyer
Editorial Lead: Lianne George
PR Coordinator: Kaitlyn Vian
Director, Advocacy and Communications, YWCA: Amy Juschka
For registration inquiries, contact Alisha Tabilin at 1-416-408-2300 x282 or atabilin@brunico.com.