This new campaign, created by R/GA Buenos Aires for Nike Argentina, tells the inspiring story of Candelaria Cabrera, an eight-year-old girl from the city of Chabás. She had to beat prejudices and fight for permission from her local league authorities to play mixed soccer until she turns 10. Her story and perseverance led to the organisation eventually creating a league for girls. The launch spot, which plays out in reverse chronology and features star Argentine footballers Ruth Bravo, Estefanía Banini and Belén Potassa, highlights the obstacles and barriers that women need to overcome to have access to sport and, ultimately, reach their goals. It's launched in time for the Women's World Cup that's set to kick off next month.
To find out more about the campaign and Candelaria's story, LBB's Addison Capper spoke with Nike Argentina and R/GA's LATAM executive creative director Mariano Jeger.
LBB> When you first made aware of Candelaria Cabrera's story and how did you discover it? And what can you tell us about her story?
Nike Argentina> In September, we heard Cande’s story, first through a national newspaper, and later from our football athletes. We got in touch with her mom to learn the details of her story and how we could help her, inspire her, and keep her in the field. Her story is an example of one of the multiple barriers that little girls need to overcome to be able to play football, or any sport, in Argentina. Her battle against long-standing patriarchal barriers is the same fight that some of our athletes, many of who now play in Boca or the national team, had to overcome to keep on playing. Candelaria is an example of every girl in football, and in sports, who not only push themselves further with each game and training; but also move the world ahead with their example.
LBB> And at what point did you think, this needs to be the focal point of this campaign?
Nike Argentina> We believe that sports have the power to move the world forward and are committed to giving every athlete the same chance to unleash their potential. So, once we knew about the story of Cande and heard first-hand from our athletes about their similar struggles growing in sports, we felt inspired. At that point, we knew we wanted to do something. We wanted to help correct the problem. Cande is an example to follow, a great inspiration who is also connected to our DNA and beliefs. It came very natural for us to feel the need to support her cause and stand with her.
LBB> How did you get her involved in the project? And how was she to work with?
Nike Argentina> A couple of our athletes, including Estefanía Banini and Ruth Bravo (Argentina national team captains), had already contacted her and sent her messages of inspiration. We travelled to Chabás to meet her, hear her story, and of course, play a bit of football. Later, we wanted to formalise our support, so she became the youngest football athlete to ever have a pro-contract in Argentina. And with that, we committed long-term with her. We had the opportunity to take her to the stadium, La Bombonera, for the first time, bring Argentinian national team athletes to her club, and introduce her to the full Boca Juniors’ female team. To see her enjoy those events and be inspired was really moving.
LBB> What inspired the reverse chronology of the story?
Nike Argentina> Primarily, the chronology was by in the story of our athletes and the path they take to accomplish their dreams. We wanted to give visibility to the shared barriers these athletes have faced. We think that both the concept and the narrative are the strongest parts of this campaign.
Mariano> We wanted to do something to inspire and empower young athletes, showing how these girls have been overcoming obstacles silently and with so much effort for so long. We also thought that a reverse chronology was a great emotional resource to connect the two phases of any athlete. The one as kids, when they commit to their dream of playing a sport, and the other when they succeed in reaching that dream.
LBB> Locally, how is the conversation around women's football? Is it a big topic at the moment? Football is such an important part of Argentinian culture...
Nike Argentina> We’re in the middle of a big momentum for female football, both at the roots and the pro level. We are seeing a huge movement of young athletes entering the sport and there are an increasing number of amateur football tournaments for girls. Also, the Candes of the country are pushing conversations and forcing clubs and federations to move ahead, break barriers, and disrupt the status quo to provide equal access and opportunities for girls as well. Also, having the national team back at a World Cup after 12 years serves as the best inspiration for girls to begin or continue their path in football.
LBB> What kind of reaction have you seen to the campaign?
Nike Argentina> It’s been amazing to see the reactions. From our athletes and Cande to our consumers, the reactions have been super positive. We trusted that Argentinian footballers, at all levels, were going to connect and feel inspired by our pro athletes stories, even more with Cande’s example; but it was overwhelming to see the results and feedback we got.
Mariano> 'Before That' tells the story of multiple women that have to overcome daily barriers that shouldn’t exist. That lack of access that women experience in football, and almost any other sport, is a local issue, but it also reflects the reality in other countries. It’s a problem that is gaining much more visibility each day. The campaign speaks about a relevant issue and I guess that’s why it’s getting such amazing reactions among consumers, athletes and public opinion.