DDB New Zealand is launching a global campaign to fix the internet

Who has scored the most goals in international football? The internet will generally tell you it’s Cristiano Ronaldo when it’s actually women’s footballer Christine Sinclair.

DDB Group Aotearoa and FINCH are behind a global movement designed to highlight and correct the inconsistencies in searchable facts that harm female athletes. Correct Internet’s goal is to highlight and correct inaccuracies in Internet search results and, as a result, make female athletes more visible.

The campaign is the collective work of an international group of like-minded people who saw the need to get behind the cause, championed by Rebecca Sowden, founding partner of Correct The Internet and owner of the UN Football for a Purpose team. Heroine – international sports marketing consultancy.

A number of partners are supporting the campaign across their channels with extensive social media, OOH, TV, radio and PR activity.

The problem was first discovered when DDB played for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. While researching facts about the world’s best soccer players, the team found that women have held many soccer records. However, by asking simple, straightforward questions to find these facts, the Internet was wrongly ranking men ahead of statistically superior women in its search results.

FINCH director Lex Hodge says the campaign was a hugely collaborative process with the team working together towards one goal, fixing the internet to help make female athletes more visible.

“When this came to me, I was extremely excited. The quest for justice and the mana/strength to stand up and speak truth to power is so creatively liberating. There is no hesitation, no politics – the girl in the film just wants the truth. And that’s what’s scary. the place we gather information from doesn’t just give us the facts. It was important to me that through the film we gave the Internet a real sense of presence, strength in numbers.”

FINCH produced a highly emotional video to launch the campaign, which was screened at the NZ Football Ferns match against the USA Women’s team at Eden Park on Saturday 21 January.

Rebecca Sowden says she is passionate about helping the world recognize all sporting heroes and empowering the next generation of athletes. “Many of the top athletes in the world are women. Many of the world’s sports records are held by women. But when people search online for factual sports information about athletes, the results favor male athletes, even when female athletes have higher stats.

“Because the Internet has become accustomed to our biases, many of its search engine results are inconsistent, often biased toward men, and change depending on who is searching. Our goal is to empower the next generation of sportspeople by ensuring that when women are the best in the world, the internet reflects that,” adds Sowden.

Aiming to empower women through the power of sport, Correct The Internet is also endorsed by the United Nations initiative, Football for a Purpose (FFTG), as well as supported by organizations such as Women in Sports Aotearoa (WISPA), Women. Sport Australia and New Zealand Football, and many famous athletes including English rugby Red Roses player Shaunagh Brown and NZ Football Fern Meikayla Moore.

Liz Knox, CEO of DDB Group Aotearoa – Operations, said: “There is no easy way to fix inconsistencies in search results. However, if people report these issues using each search engine’s built-in feedback feature, they can be logged and fixed. The problem is that most people aren’t familiar with the feedback feature, and recent design changes in some of the larger search engines make it difficult to find.

“So we’ve created a tool that makes it easier to send feedback. And our campaign is designed to get the global community of people to want to speak up and take tangible action to eliminate some of the gender biases that rule our search engines. Success will see these search results correct over time,” Knox said.

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