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Athleta urges women to ‘keep running’ in ad that debuted on Election Day

Marketing Dive

November 04, 2020

By Tatiana Walk-Morris

Featured Work

Athleta – Women Run

Dive Brief:

Athleta launched a new ad campaign, “Women Run,” that focuses on women who oversee political races, households, essential jobs and other elements of today’s culture, the company said in an email to Marketing Dive. Images and overlays in a 60-second YouTube ad point to the many ways that women “run” — from the physical act of running to leading political movements. It ends with the words: “Women Run the Future.”

The company tapped YARD NYC to create the campaign, which includes Instagram filters and collaborations with influencers. The campaign debuted on Nov. 3 will run through December across the brand’s digital, social and print assets, per the email.

The campaign builds upon Athleta’s previous “Power of She” platform, which YARD NYC also created, to help women and girls become more confident and empowered, the company said.

Dive Insight:

While many brands are wary of advertising during the presidential election because of the expectation that consumers’ minds are focused elsewhere, Athleta saw an opportunity to try to double down on women’s empowerment at a time when more women are running for office and women’s issues are top of mind. Using Athleta’s new filter, Instagram users take pictures with the words “Women Run” framing the image to show the many ways that women play a leading role in life, business and society. The campaign is meant to inspire women and girls worldwide to “keep running” regardless of the outcome of this year’s election, the company noted.

At a time when consumers are demanding brands stand for something, Athleta’s campaign has an opportunity to deliver on that front while tapping into changes in consumer tastes during the crucial holiday shopping season. Per research from consumer trends research firm NPD, active bottoms, sweatshirts, socks and sweatpants will make up 31% of total U.S. apparel spending this holiday season, which the firm attributes to shoppers seeking comfortable clothing. Parent company Gap Inc. sees significant opportunity for growth in the Athleta brand going forward because of consumer trends.

Athleta, a division of retailer Gap Inc., comes as its sister brands have released their own campaigns recently. While Gap joins Athleta in its political activism, Old Navy has tapped RuPaul for more casual holiday ads. Banana Republic debuted its “Color-Full” ad just before Black History Month, and it released its first TV ad in 15 years featuring the brand’s cozy knits, outerwear and other items in its winter assortment.

Brands like AbsolutPatagoniaSnipes and Puma have been outspoken in their political activism. But now that Election Day has passed, Athleta stands out among other companies in focusing on women’s empowerment during the forthcoming holiday season.