After decades of running sexist ads that often objectified or Pigeon-holed women, it now seems that brands and marketing agencies are latching on to feminism as a way to sell their products. But are these campaigns really making a change or is it all just a marketing ploy?
Here is a round-up of 5 of the best feminist ad campaigns.
It started in 2004 with Dove’s worldwide ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, which celebrated the natural beauty of all women of all shapes, sizes and colours, inspiring them to have the confidence to be comfortable within themselves. The campaign broke new ground and received significant media coverage from talk shows, women’s magazine and mainstream news and broadcast publications. This is the most recent video for their campaign ‘Real Beauty Sketches’.
Pantene’s ‘Not Sorry’ video tells women to stop apologising so much when you have nothing to apologise for. It’s suggested that women over-apologise because they feel undeserving and that this needs to stop.
Always’ ‘Run Like a Girl’ video shows both adults and young children being asked ‘what does it mean to do something like a girl?’ Whilst the grown-ups act out what they think it means to throw or run like a girl by flailing their arms and giving pathetic limp-wristed throws; the young girls just run and throw as fiercely as possible. So when exactly did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult? The video has been viewed more than 47 million times.
To promote her new community for women called Lean In (after her best selling book), Sheryl Sandberg launched a video campaign to ban the word bossy. The Lean In #banbossy video aimed to highlight that when little boys assert themselves they are called leaders, but when little girls do the same they are called bossy; and this sends the message to little girls not to speak up, a trend that continues into adulthood. The video received 2.7 million views on YouTube.
GoldieBlox beat more than 15,000 other companies in a contest and became the first small business to ever advertise during the Super Bowl. Their video entry went viral with a video encouraging girls to become engineers.
Brands have done a lot of research into what makes ads shareable, and found that the ads that make us think, laugh or cry are the ones that we share; and it was only a matter of time before they focussed seriously on women as an important target market, as we account for most of the household purchasing decisions and are the biggest spenders. But are we being manipulated into buying their products? Of course we are, but does it really matter when they seem to be doing some social good and raising important issues for discussion?