International Women’s Day is fast approaching and, continuing the annual trend, a host of brands will be honoring women by launching digital campaigns around this year’s theme, “Break The Bias”. Until today, a reasonable part of society perceives them as token or token campaigns that only happen once a year, I think the criticism is rather unfair.
In all regions, women have long struggled against misogyny and prejudice against their presence in the boardroom. We cannot deny the fact that due to many years of targeted and activism-based advertising; we have been able to help raise a generation of millennials and GenZers who can identify these biases, challenge them (rightly so), and seek fairer representation of women in all spheres of life and work.
This year, we observed brands taking three types of approaches to International Women’s Day.
There’s a very rare set of brands where celebrating Women’s Day or women-focused content is a year-round event that goes beyond tactical intervention. They have a long-term commitment to this area of interest. A great example here is that of The Body Shop India. The brand runs a weekly property called “Feminine and Fearless” which highlights strong women breaking the mold in areas like sports, entertainment, public service, and more. unfair social practices among others.
Some of the biggest brands produce content in video format around women and recognize their contribution through direct or subtle product integration. It’s a known fact that compelling stories told in video formats tend to be shared widely and allow brands to demonstrate their commitment to this all-important celebration. Subtle product integrations work best in such campaigns, as the narrative commands more attention if it strikes an emotional chord without being very commercial.
Even to this day, we still see a plethora of brands paying lip service trying to post around International Women’s Day 2022 with perhaps an offer valid for that day or week. Unfortunately, on their side, the focus is still on recognizing the day, but not much further. I think they focus more on return on ad spend (ROAS) and revenue generation instead of just building brand awareness. Therefore, I see ideas and actions that will likely boost sales or consideration for their products.
This year’s theme, “Break The Bias”, is very relevant. The larger context is about how women are leading change as we recover from two years of prolonged Covid-related lockdowns. Studies have revealed that the period of confinement linked to the pandemic has led to an increase in cases of domestic violence against women, with more women losing their jobs than men and also, according to some reports, women facing s do much more household chores than their spouses/partners.
India has already seen phenomenal growth in female-focused D2C brands over the past two years – and many of them could have been the flagships of such campaigns, but alas, not much is seen happen.
Ultimately, the baton returns to the brands. They have the power to use their social presence and power to address these issues and promote an egalitarian world where men need to recognize biases and support women by sharing the burden equally both personally and professionally. Today’s generation is extremely aware and receptive to the sensitivity of these social trends and young women and men tend to strike a chord with brands that clearly demonstrate their progressive approach to solving the issues facing women. Brands need to leverage digital videos, social content, live events, promotions, and more. to celebrate this occasion in a more “meaningful” way.
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