In 2018, Notre Dame guard Arike Ogunbowale’s thrilling three-point shot beat Mississippi State and gave the Fighting Irish their second women’s basketball national championship. It was one of the most exciting moments in U.S sports history, but very few people saw it, because while more than 40% of all athletes in the U.S. are female, women’s sports only represent a mere 10% of media coverage.

Buick is out to change that with an ad campaign called “See Her Greatness” that broke during telecasts of the 2022 NCAA March Madness tournaments and will run for the rest of the year. In the new spots, the narrator discusses — but never shows — extraordinary moments in women’s sports history, beginning with Ogunbowale’s title-winning heroics. The carmaker partnered with TOGETHXR, the media and commerce company launched by women’s sports stars Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, Simone Manuel, and Sue Bird, to develop accompanying online content and live events to support the Greatness effort.

In this week’s blog, Buick Marketing Director Samuel Russell discusses the genesis of the work and discusses Buick’s approach to representation.

We developed “See Her Greatness” organically as a longtime partner of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). But Buick has been an advocate for women’s equality and a top brand for female buyers for several years, so we are already naturally doing this work. With the 50th anniversary of Title IX this year, we saw an opportunity to address elements around inequality that have not been adequately addressed or suffer from lack of awareness.

When Title IX was passed, only 1 in 27 women played sports at the collegiate level, representing 15% of student athletes. Today, women make up 44% of NCAA athletes. Yet it doesn’t feel that way, because the media that gets attention and support is significantly skewed towards male athletics.

It’s lack of awareness. Most fans, myself included, don’t stop to think about their sports viewing and don’t follow women’s sports because it hasn’t been promoted to them. Then you have the lingering stereotypes about the games not being as exciting as the men’s game, to which I usually reply, “I don’t think you’ve seen a lot of women’s sports lately.”

With this new effort, we hope to open fans’ eyes to a whole new universe. Then the advertiser dollars will come, the news outlets will increase coverage, and everything else feeds off that awareness.

Ultimately, it’s less about the business of media coverage and more about the overall evolution of women and girls in our society. We are creating a bigger window through which future generations can find inspiration.

I can see from my own experience as a basketball player that the skills I learned on the court are indispensable in the office. The desire to compete and win is an undervalued element in how people succeed in their careers.

The rate at which young girls quit sports is twice as high as boys because girls don’t see many similar role models. As the father of an 18-year-old daughter, that is unacceptable to me. And I am proud to play a small part in big change.

If you can see her, you can root for her.