- The boxing brand Everlast has refreshed its global “Be First" campaign that spotlights a new class of athletes, according to information provided to Marketing Dive.
- The selected athletes are Patricio Manuel, the world's first male professional boxer who is transgender; Jinji Martinez, the first above-knee amputee fighter to defeat a "fully bodied" boxer, and the undefeated boxers from the Balderas family, originally immigrants to the U.S. from Oaxaca, Mexico.
- The new push, which includes three videos posted to YouTube, is a follow-up to last fall's first "Be First" campaign. The initial effort focused on athletes doing "things their own way," and featured undefeated pro female boxer Mikaela Mayer and 13-year-old up-and-coming boxer Jesselyn Silva.
Everlast said its "Be First" campaign re-purposes a well-known boxing term for how to set the pace of a fight "by making your opponent follow your lead." In this new incarnation, the lead that Everlast wants to set is more focused on inclusivity than last year's campaign, which was more oriented toward following one's own star. In this iteration of the campaign, Everlast could expand its reach by including groundbreaking transgender, disabled and immigrant boxers.
Inclusivity is a theme that other brands have also adopted in recent years in an effort to appeal to younger consumers. A strong sense of purpose, open-mindedness and connection to important causes interests Gen Z consumers, according to a PSFK report. Young audiences in particular favor ads that highlight diversity, according to a survey by marketing consultancy Barkley and its think tank Futurecast.
Procter & Gamble has been one of the leaders in this direction, attempting to "reinvent advertising" by exploring modern masculinity, racial bias, "the talk" that African-American parents have with their children along with efforts to promote the work of women and the LGBT community. In particular, and echoing Everlast's decision to spotlight transgender boxer Patricio Manuel, P&G-owned Gillette recently embraced gender as a campaign theme with a short video of a transgender teen being taught to shave by his father. Similarly, direct-to-consumer razor maker Dollar Shave Club has employed a diverse cast of actors for its ads, following in the footsteps of its parent Unilever, whose Unstereotype program looks to eliminate stereotypes across all content.
But marketers' embrace of diversity and inclusivity is not limited to giant brands in the P&G and Unilever stables. Sweetarts in April launched a new ad campaign whose name "Be Both," echoed Everlast’s "Be First" tagline. Targeted at Gen Z, it celebrated diversity and rejected one-dimensional depictions of individuals' identities.