Vox Media, MilkPEP and Gale ink multi-million dollar media partnership to increase women’s representation in sports

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Stagwell agency Gale, Vox Media and dairy brand MilkPEP this week inked a multi-million dollar media partnership focused on spotlighting female athletes.

The contract is part of a larger campaign that includes editorial content, integrated media promotion and other programs on YouTube in collaboration with Popsugar Fitness, a Vox brand, and additional audio content on the Vox Media Podcast Network.

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Gale and MilkPEP also spoke at Digiday’s Media Buying Summit this week, with Yin Woon Rani, CEO of MilkPEP and Brad Simms, president and CEO of Gale, where they discussed maximizing clients’ media dollars.

Part of the deal entails a women’s running event at SXSW in Austin, followed by a panel discussion led by the Cut, a Vox Media brand. MilkPEP is sponsoring the event which features Dina Asher-Smith, world and European champion athlete, Haley Rosen, founder and CEO of Just Women’s Sports, and Chloe Kim, an American snowboarder and two-time Olympic gold medalist, moderated by the Cut’s Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Peoples.

Following SXSW later this month, the companies will also premiere a three-part docuseries, “Running Sucks,” featuring influencer Abi Ayres training experience in the NYC Marathon. The series will launch on The Cut’s new editorial sports section. This campaign is a continuation of a long-standing partnership between MilkPEP and Vox Media, which began working together in 2022 to raise awareness around women in sports.

In an onstage conversation at the Media Buying Summit, Rani and Simms shared their insights from both an agency and client perspective about laying out integrated media executions that extend beyond traditional channels. Many brands are increasingly focused on developing unique media and entertainment experiences that strive for deeper engagement among prospective consumers.

There are still a lot of “silos in the industry” even as companies think from an integrated or 360 approach, explained Rani, who has also worked on the agency side for years. That’s part of what led MilkPep to downsize from employing several agencies to directly working with Gale now.

The challenge was “dealing with conflicting interests and complexities” around managing multiple partnerships when more than one agency involved, said Rani. Simms added that reducing the involved agencies also helps speed efforts to market. “If you have an integrated agency, they can move quickly — it allows us to make dozens of decisions every week,” he said.

As they reflected on the results of the campaign taking place throughout the month, which employed experiential, CRM, out-of-home and traditional print elements, Simms also encouraged taking a step back to think about the main objective for agencies, which is to ultimately grow the brand. One example: sponsoring individual runners in the New York Marathon over any sort of sponsorship tied to the event itself, he said.

“It started with audiences … We wanted to lean into everyday performance with females, supporting and encouraging them to accomplish outcomes specifically around performance,” he said.

Rani also stressed that having empathy for clients can go a long way in ensuring a smooth partnership: “I would encourage you to build empathetic relationships with your clients — push your agency to be more helpful.”


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