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Opinion and Insight

Reebok and McCann Tackle Stereotypes and Women’s Physical Safety

Jitender Dabas, Chief Strategy Officer, McCann Worldgroup India on the myth that ‘girls don’t fight’

Reebok and McCann Tackle Stereotypes and Women’s Physical Safety

The campaign originated from the strategic choice that the brand made a few years back to deepen the brand’s connection with women.
 
For too long, the communication focus of the fitness apparel market has been narrow. For decades, the focus was on men. In recent times the focus has shifted to women, but only to niche, urban women. Looking at the advertising in this category, one might think that the sole role of fitness brands is to turn women into slim, sexy athletes. Reebok, on the other hand, believed that the brand had to play a deeper role in the lives of ordinary Indian women.
 
We felt that we could do this by moving the fitness narrative from the impact on bodies to the impact on one’s mind. The confidence in facing challenges that being fit sparks.
 
Thus was born the idea of #FitToFight in 2016. Through the campaign the brand created a new role for fitness in the lives of women beyond sports, losing weight and so on. In partnership with Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut, who had to fight for every bit of success she had in life, it told women that being fit gives you the confidence to fight the big battles of life.

 
This was a very successful campaign and the strategy in 2017 was to take it further in a harder, punchier way by taking on the gender stereotypes that exist around us. And it started with the most insidious stereotype of all that: ‘Girls Don’t Fight’.
 
It was a conscious call to avoid the warm, fuzzy tone that has become commonplace in recent times. This wasn’t just a campaign about fitness, it was also about the spirit of ‘fightness’ that fitness creates in you. We decided to link up the spirit of ‘fightness’ with the physical security of women - one of the most pressing issues facing Indian women today. The tone was also essential; we were looking to challenge the stereotypes and also, because it’s for a fitness brand, use the codes of the category about sweat and glory.