10 iconic WOMEN’S DAY campaigns

As each year passes, Women’s Day gains more and more momentum, with global brands aligning their campaign to project and honour the achievements of women from all walks of life, be it social, political, economic, cultural etc.
Before we get to our top International Women’s Day campaigns, we’d like to predict our top pic for this year’s Women’s Day campaign, made by none other than Nike. A very powerful, moving piece – “Dream crazier”

Nike – Dream Crazier

The most recent emotional expression of Nike sees a collage of real life footage of women athletes at sporting events expressing their emotions. Barely a week old, the video has raked in a whopping 7 million views and makes a strong case for women to dream big and dream crazier (subtle comparison of last year’s Dream crazy ad by Nike itself). Without even acting, the emotions stitched together were truly riveting.

Coming off the heels of International Women’s day 2019, here are 10 iconic Women’s Day campaigns from the past decade.

01) P&G – Always #LikeaGirl [66 million views]

We begin the list with P&G’s women sanitary brand, ‘Always’, that tried to do away with preconceived notions associated with girls running or hitting or playing sport. The 2016 campaign, aimed at empowering women to continue physical activities and sports was well-timed, as it coincided with Rio Olympics 2016, in a bid to encourage more female athletes to take up sport.

02) Barbie – #MoreRoleModels

Often associated with an almost flawless, unrealistic, princess-like appearance, Barbie decided to un-stereotype itself, by honour the valiant efforts and contributions of women in the world. This was achieved by having custom made dolls to each of these accomplished personalities. These models include painter Frida Kahlo, actress and philanthropist Xiaotong Guan, aviator Amelia Earhart, USA Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and wildlife conservationist Bindi Irwin along with a host of other inspirational women. The 2018 campaign further extended by encouraging fans to share women who inspire them on social media using the hashtag #MoreRoleModels.

03) Reebok – Bruises can be good [7.8 million views]

Shock and awe, is another way to capture and engage your audience, and that was the template incorporated by Reebok for its 2018 women’s day campaign, ‘Bruises can be good’. The video plays out as a social experiment, in which select participants across both genders and varied age groups were asked to observe a young woman, marred with bruises. The audience were quick to answer that she was a victim of domestic abuse or eve teasing. Towards the end of the video, a voice-over reveals that she is an athlete and that her bruises are ‘good’ as they are a proof of her strength that enables her to defeat an opponent. Reebok took it a step further, by having a petition on Change.org to make self-defense a mandatory part of school and college curriculum for female students

04) McDonalds – Inverted arch

Though it received flak online, Fast food goliath, McDonalds took a big risk by having its trademark golden arch vertically inverted to display the letter ‘W’ for women. The flipped icon received a lot of news coverage from local and national news channels in America.

05) Smirnoff and Spotify – The equalizer

In an attempt to tackle gender bias in the music industry, Alcohol brand, Smirnoff partnered with music streaming giant Spotify to help increase the representation of female artists by allowing consumers to impact their own listening habits. This activation campaign was derived through a 2017 music stat that revealed, the top 10 streamed tracks were all performed by male artists.

The Smirnoff Equalizer is an API app which gives Spotify users a percentage breakdown of the number of male and female artists they have listened to over the last six months – before providing an equalised playlist where both male and female artists are represented equally.

06) BIBA – Change for progress

A rather refreshing change of pace, this light-hearted conversation between cousins and a maternal uncle juxtaposes a man in the place of a woman, being asked questions that are always pointed at Indian girls. Why it delivers a powerful message, is that, it does away with the extra (sometimes force fitted) drama and overwhelming emotion, and that, it connects instantly with the young generation without doing or saying much, that too in less than 90 seconds.

07) FCKH8 – Potty mouthed princess dropping F bombs for Feminism [3 million views]

If none of the above campaigns happened to drop your jaws and pop out your eyes with shock, this one is guaranteed to do just that, and more. The idea behind this was to make people more shocked with the alarming case of gender equality and problems women face in daily life. The audio is NSFW, that is unless, your cubicle is filled with people who brush aside key issues like equal pay for both genders, rape etc. Even though it was released it 2014, it still is one of the most unconventional routes to bring out a Women’s Day message. While this may not be a typically iconic campaign, it’s one that we wont easily forget.

08) H&M – She’s a lady [4 million views]

Visualized as a raw, yet, aesthetically pleasing fashion music video, H&M urged women to un-adjust to notions of style, beauty, or even the way you eat and sit. Managing to be nonchalant and classy at once, the 2016 autumn campaign video on YouTube describes the women in the video as Entertaining, opinionated, off-beat and fearless. Bad-ass, independent and free-willed.

09) The Economist – International Women’s Day print/online
In a bid to try and increase the number of women subscribers (only 30% of 1.4 million users are women), the Economist took an interesting route. By creating an exclusive online hub featuring interviews with women such as Zaha Hadid, Maye Musk (mother of Elon Musk) and activist Betty Friedan, this exercise was part of the Economist’s a broader initiative to grow its “globally curious” target audience, which has an even gender split. The above ad was promoted as an outdoor campaign

10) Dove – Real Beauty [64 million views]

We end the list with probably one of the most memorable campaigns by Dove. They say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, but more important than that, how beautiful one feels about herself. The 2013 campaign highlights the difference between how a woman perceives herself and how others perceive her. Sketched by FBI, trained forensic artist Gil Zamora, the climax of the film was emotional and felt real.
Honourable mentions:

– OLA Women’s day by Sumukhi Suresh which has the Bangalore based Standup comedian breaking down all the usual clichés brought about only on Women’s day.

– Gisele Bündchen – I Will What I Want. This 2014 video shows the comments model Gisele Bündchen received in real-time as she punched and kicked a punching bag. The comments appear on the walls around her are seen as pot shots and derogatory remarks.

We will be featuring the top Women’s Day campaigns of 2019 later this month.
Which of the above campaign(s) caught your attention, and made you reflect the most? Let us know in the comments below.


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digital marketing
February 8, 2019