FEATURE: Behind Panache Sport's knockout campaign

Ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Panache Sport has teamed up with boxing star Nicola Adams in its quest to champion women of all shapes and sizes.

After claiming the title of Sports Bra Brand of the Year the UK Lingerie Awards, Panache Sport is pulling no punches with its latest fight for victory.

The British label has teamed up with boxing champion Nicola Adams, the first woman to win an Olympic title in her field, for its AW16 campaign, which is set to roll into stores and online later this year.

The gold medallist joined Panache team members in a powerful photoshoot and video, allowing for products to be showcased in a B to J cup.

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Championing female body confidence

The launch comes hot on the heels of Panache’s trailblazing Modelled by Role Models campaign, featuring six women chosen for their individual strengths, achievements and healthy body image.

Modelled by Role Models was focused on championing women of all shapes and sizes, inspiring them to achieve their goals and boosting body confidence.

With its latest campaign, Panache Sport hopes to reinforce these key messages.
“It shows that you can be any shape or size and go out and do sports, and that regardless of ability, there’s something out there for you,” says Panache Sport head of marketing Jennie Bianco.

Debbie Morley, head of design, agrees and adds: “It really comes across in the photography that we cater to all different shapes and sizes – we have girls that are smaller on top and bigger on the bottom, and bigger on top and smaller on the bottom. We’ve not hidden creases or wrinkles or dimples – they’re all real women that represent women from all walks of life.

“We’re really quite proud of the campaign and got a little bit emotional when we saw the video, which features Nicola talking about her role models and how she focuses on her goals. It comes across really beautifully.”

Rio 2016 Olympics

The campaign also falls in line with a big year for women in sport. Sporting stars from cycling champion Laura Trott to track and field athlete Christine Ohuruogo will be taking part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games from August 5-21.

So why did Panache Sport choose to approach Nicola Adams in particular?

“We were looking at different Olympians past and present, as well as Olympians from the US. Nicola is slightly different to an Olympian – she’s an Olympic champion and she’s the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title,” explains Bianco.

“She has the same values in that she goes out to schools and represents a positive body image and hard work, showing that you can achieve things no matter what your background. So she really had a good fit for us,” she adds.

“She also trained in Sheffield [Panache’s hometown], so that was another reason we liked the idea of working with her. She’s from Yorkshire, so it’s a nice local story.”

On working with Adams, Bianco says: “She’s just exactly as you’d imagine – down to earth and really friendly. She’s got that signature smile, so she’s very natural.”

Morley was particularly impressed by her punctuality. “She arrived before all the non-professional models!” she said with a laugh.

“We got her to try on all of the products, which were made specifically for her in a B cup, so she could take them away with her,” she adds. “We obviously offer sports bras in a B cup, but our photography sample size is a 32E.”

Break from the norm

Bianco and Morley admit that using a B-cup model is a break from the norm for Panache, but they believe the collaboration will have a positive impact on customers.

“Quite a few of my friends didn’t actually know that we offer a B cup in our sports bras and were presently surprised by this,” explains Morley.

“[Adams] does represent our size curve, but she perhaps isn’t someone people would imagine to represent the brand,” says Bianco, adding: “Because we had the Panache staff involved in the shoot too, we felt that we were ticking a lot of boxes for our wholesalers and partners around the world in terms of showcasing all the different sizes that we offer.”

The Panache team involved in the shoot includes women working in all aspects of the business, from marketing and HR to design and customer services.

“I sent an email out to everybody, asking if they’d like to be part of a photoshoot. I was actually surprised about the number of volunteers I got for it,” Bianco reflects.

“I didn’t know if people would want to do it or whether they’d feel nervous about doing it. If I wasn’t able to involve Panache staff I would have approached local sports teams who we have connections with, but I was really pleased that they all felt confident enough to take part. They’d seen the photography that we’d done in the recent past and were really on board with being part of that.”

“Nicola made everyone feel completely at ease too,” she adds.

Brazilian inspiration

In the new campaign images, the models showcase Panache Sport’s range of wired and non-wired bras, which have been revamped for Autumn/Winter 2016.

As an ode to the Olympic Games, Panache has launched its Wired Sports Bra in a rich teal shade and Odyssey print, inspired by the vivid colours of Brazil and the vibrant nature of Rio’s hillside Favelas.

“The Non-Wired Sports bra features a neon pixel print inspired by the nightlife of Rio. We looked at images of the city lit up at night,” explains Morley.

This style, along with core colours of Black and Latte, will also be available in patriotic red, white and blue marl.

“We launched a red, white and blue bra for the London 2012 Olympics and that did really well, so we have updated that with the blue marl to give it a bit more depth,” says Morley.

“What’s great about red, white and blue and not focusing on a specific flag or country is that it works for the UK, the US and Australia,” Bianco adds.

UK Lingerie Awards

Panache Sport hopes its new campaign, which has already received a positive response from buyers, will help the brand win its fourth UK Lingerie Award in 2016.

Commenting on claiming the title of Sports Bra Brand of the Year Award in December, Morley said: “I think it’s good for the internal team because it puts that tiny bit of pressure on us to do well next year.

“We’re all so proud of it as we all work closely together to deliver the best product, the best fit and the best imagery, so it kind of makes people try that bit harder to come up with the next winning product,” she adds.

Bianco agrees: “It’s great recognition for the brand and for the product. When I told the internal team about the award, I mentioned the four criteria –innovation, sales, marketing and fit. Everyone in the business has had a part to play.

“The sales team have also done well in getting it into the right stores – it’s the only sports bra in Selfridges.

“Sales are growing for Panache Sport anyway, but I think adding the logo to our brochures and on our website adds to the trust of the brand.”

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