We are currently at the epicentre of a new feminist movement spearheaded by the #MeToo campaign, and as a result International Women’s Day (IWD) is arguably more significant than ever before.
Given the swell of conversation calling for gender equality, IWD presents the perfect opportunity for brands to showcase their commitment to the solution by pushing for real societal and business change.
However, not everyone has hit the mark. Here’s Stripe’s breakdown of this year’s best and worst IWD campaigns and whether they really #PressforProgress…
Mattel, Inspirational Barbies
Here’s a great example of a brand identifying an issue and taking positive steps to address it, rather than just paying it lip-service.
When Mattel, maker of Barbie, found 86% of mothers around the globe are worried about the kind of role models their daughters are exposed to, they responded by marking IWD with the release of a new range of dolls celebrating inspirational, historical women. They also released a further 14 dolls in their ‘Shero’ range, including a doll version of UK boxer Nicola Adams.
While there are currently only three dolls in the ‘Inspiring Women’ range: Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo and Katherine Johnson, Mattel assures us there will be more coming.
For those of us who can think back to playing with anatomically impossibly shaped dolls and only really being influenced by how it looked, it’s nice to think this generation will be encouraged to think ‘Yes, I can be a successful boxer, mathematician, director, artist’… the list goes on.
Well played, Mattel.
Luxor Crystal, Whisky glass ‘for women’
The Austrian firm, Luxor Crystal, known for making luxury glassware embellished with Swarovski crystals, has designed the Highlander Whisky Glass featuring ‘a new shape especially for women’.
Apparently our hand shapes are so delicate we require special glassware. Please.
The glass design itself is lovely, but the marketing campaign is misguided. Women do not need gender-specific drinking products – this condescension does not endear us to your brand. All Luxor Crystal has done is reinforce the gender stereotype that whisky is a man’s drink. Can’t women just enjoy a dram in whatever glass they choose?
Uber’s #DrivenWomen campaign film introduces audiences to the brand’s female drivers, in a bid to challenge the oldest gender stereotype out there. The video celebrates the brand’s female drivers by showcasing their voices on how driving makes them feel and how it positively impacts on their lives – helping to actually drive change on the issue (pardon the pun).
We’re often surprised to be met by female drivers, simply because there’s less of them. And the #DrivenWomen campaign answers many of the questions passengers are afraid to ask. Why do they drive? What do they like about it? Is it becoming more common? Do passengers ever challenge their suitability for the job?
The drivers profess the benefits of being in control of their own schedules, and according to a recent global study 74% of female driver-partners cited flexibility as the key reason they drive for Uber.
The campaign has its finger on the pulse of a real issue – visibility – by showing the women behind the wheel. It’s a win for empowerment and equality, exactly what IWD stands for.
Next and Hello! Magazine, Star Mums
Unveiling an all-white, glamorous panel of celebrity mothers to judge Hello! Magazine’s ‘Star Mums’ competition, sponsored by Next, has succeeded in one thing – royally pissing off their target demographic.
The selected line up chosen to dub the publication’s Star Mum has resulted in national backlash for both brands’ ‘‘narrow view of motherhood”. Unfortunately for both Next and Hello!, they’ve managed to offend the people they were trying to empower with a poorly executed and thought-out representation of mothers in British society.
Albeit a misunderstanding, what was meant to be celebration of diverse mothers doing incredible things has gone down like a lead balloon by losing sight of the competition’s purpose.