In light of International Women’s Day, renowned brands and non-profits took the opportunity to advocate for gender equality in the most creative ways imagined crossing social and international barriers. Ever since the successful outcome of the Women’s March in January, and an increased interest for the Women’s movement, brands have embraced the social trend and become involved with women empowerment initiatives. The decision to advocate for a social concern in the midst of a major event leads the question of how genuine are these companies’ intentions with their approach. Are they solely advocating to exploit the issue and gain followers, or are they intentionally adopting organizational measures in their workforce to combat inequality? Most importantly, will the movement merely remain as an event or ignite a revolution?
The following campaigns gained global attention for their amazing storytelling and originality. Starting off with Nike, the company recently unveiled their newest sports apparel geared towards Muslim women, the very first Nike Pro Hijab. This is one of the company’s many efforts in empowering women around the world through their line of products. More evident were their series of campaigns launched on International Women’s Day showcasing the strength of women. From the fearless hymn of a young Russian girl, the judgmental stares from a society looking down on women, to the breakage from the one dimensional gender roles, the ode of these campaigns was powerful and uplifting. Particularly the idea centered around women’s physical and emotional strength to lift their social power, a narrative that related closely to the brand’s athletic products.
Despite the company’s positive image advocating for women empowerment, a discouraging finding from the company’s corporate governance did not reflect the brand’s social stance. Out of the 13 members of the board of directors, only three were women, a data that questions Nike’s intentions joining the movement as their governance remains mostly male dominated.
On the other hand, Procter & Gamble, has demonstrated to being genuinely committed with advocating women’s rights since they have been previously recognized for their corporate empowerment of women. The “We See Equal” campaign shows both men and women exchanging conventional gender roles in the family and in the workplace. Their message appears even more powerful as it aligns with the company’s corporate culture.
Of course, brands should find opportunities within their campaigns to leverage their consumer reach but their approach should be consistent and genuine.
In the non-profit sector, the questions are different since their causes are what build the organizations in the first place. Nevertheless, as campaigns come and go, the need for keeping audiences engaged and active will remain the main challenge for these organizations. For instance, the Girls Count campaign from the non-profit organization “One”, centers around raising awareness over the 130 million girls around the world who are robbed from their right for education. The fuel of the campaign is dependent upon audience’s contribution to “creating the longest video in the world” where individuals count one number from 1- 130 million to represent one girl from the statistic.
With the Women’s Movement growing there is great opportunity to get audiences involved however more content strategies have to be considered to maintain the movement and not let it swept away as a mere event in history.
Jardine, A. (2017, March 8). See how brands and agencies are celebrating International Women’s Day. Advertising Age. Retrieved from http://adage.com/article/creativity/big-brands-unveil-campaigns-international-women-s-day/308194/
Smiley, M. (2017, March 2). P&G launches #WeSeeEqual campaign ahead of International Women’s Day. The Drum. Retrieved from http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/03/02/pg-launches-weseeequal-campaign-ahead-international-women-s-day
Nike.com. (2017). Corporate governance. Retrieved from http://investors.nike.com/investors/corporate-governance/?toggle=bylaws