International Women’s Day- great marketing or politics?

More and more brands are joining forces when it came to International Women’s Day… This renewed focus on female empowerment and gender equality is providing brands and marketers with both an opportunity and a challenge in terms of authentic association.

For some brands this is a perfect opportunity to piggyback with their marketing!  L’oreal’s famous “You’re worth it” has now been used to launch Women of Worth (W.O.W) campaign- to celebrate and encourage Malaysian women from all walks of life to embrace self-worth.

But for other companies with no apparent link to feminism, this can become a bit of a struggle! After all the key is to find legitimate links to female empowerment as a company, or, in other words, to practice what you preach. If a company supports women publicly, then they better be sure to do the same internally! Yesterday LinkedIn was swamped with companies highlighting and showcasing their female team members.

But…before we move to International Women’s Day marketing…let’s look at how it all began. As read on the BBC website, International Women’s Day grew out of the labour movement to become a UN-recognised annual event. The seeds of it were planted in 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. It was the Socialist Party of America who declared the first National Woman’s Day, a year later.

Stephen Lepitak in The Drum’s article “International Women’s Day: F*ck off brands” argues the fact that International Women’s Day should stay just as that- a political debate rather than Valentine’s all over again… And as much as we all agree that gender inequality needs to be addressed – seeing this important discussion hijacked and belittled by brand marketers jumping on board and adding their pennies to the debate can cause frustration!

The fact stands that half of our planet deserves more.

Now, the questions here is whether the political message is being diluted by the brands and their opportunisms or is it actually being reinforced and strengthen because it’s repetitiveness from all over the spectrum?

One of most remarkable International Women’s Day Campaigns is that of Clinton’s Foundation “Not there” from 2015. The Clinton Foundation in partnership with ad firm Droga5 has taken over around 40 different ads in NYC, cutting-out the women with permission from companies such as Condé Nast and Beats. The campaign was aimed at driving traffic to a report by the foundation on the status of women across the globe using the slogan ‘We’re not there yet.’

Only yesterday we saw the government pledge £5m funding to support people returning to work after a career break. Also, a new funding totalling £5m has been committed for a project to celebrate the centenary of women first getting the right to vote and to educate young people about its significance. Good marketing or politics? You decide.

What are your thoughts on International Women’s Day? Have you been celebrating it for years or is it the first time when it came to equation??? Maybe somebody at your office turned up with a red carnation and wished you happy women’s day?


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