Ally Hoop brings the noise for sports equality

Who: Fast and Female, with Hard Work Club for strategy and creative; 1stAveMachine for production/animation; SNDWRx for audio; Hype PR and Glossy for PR/influencer; with Vendo Media and Bell Media.

What: “Ally Hoop,” a mascot making her debut just ahead of the first WNBA game in Toronto. Rather than hyping a specific team, Ally Hoop is generating support for equality in sport.

When & Where: Ally Hoop features in a hype video being promoted through influencer and athlete social channels, as well as through digital out-of-home, and some paid social. There are also Ally Hoop T-shirts and merchandise for sale on the Fast and Female website.

Why: The goal of the Canadian charity Fast and Female is to empower girls through sport and physical activity, but girls’ sports continue to be undervalued by society.

The organization points to two proof-points related to this campaign.

  • More girls stop playing sports at a younger age—one in three by age 16, compared to one in 10 boys at that age;
  • The mascot for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, Rocky the Mountain Lion, gets paid three times as much ($625,000 per year) as the highest paid WNBA player.

“That stat alone shows just how far today’s female athletes still need to come in the fight for equality,” said Gabriela Estrada, executive director, Fast and Female, in a release.

How: The agency was looking for a fresh way into a well-known story, and to emphasize the mascot angle, created a mascot for the cause of pay equity itself. Ally Hoop features in a hype video dancing to Tinamina’s “Let’s Get This Money,” while supers inform viewers about the pay gap between NBA mascots and WNBA players.

A long list of woman athletes and influencers are spreading the word about Ally Hoop, including Laeticia Amihere, a Canadian who plays for the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA; Canadian women’s soccer player Janine Beckie (who’s been a leading voice in the team’s fight for pay equity with Soccer Canada); and Tessa Bonhomme, a Gold medal winner with the women’s hockey team, and an on-air anchor for TSN.

“Campaigns around equality are often sport montages treated with an earnest tone that detractors simply tune out,” said Meghan Kraemer, co-founder and executive creative director, Hard Work Club. “We saw an opportunity to come at the issue differently, with a sense of fun that disarms the ‘haters’ in the comment sections of female athletes’ feeds”

And we quote: “The campaign approach is an unconventional way to call attention to a serious issue. A mascot’s role is to hype fans, so why not hype them up to be more engaged in pushing for pay equity?”— Gabriela Estrada, executive director, Fast and Female.

David Brown