The International Women’s Day 2017 marks a day to celebrate women in the world. This day is generally marked with acknowledgements of successful women in the past and the leading women of today. Previously, agencies had adopted a trend of putting together homegrown marketing projects and NGOs had advertising campaigns around this theme. However, now with cause marketing on the rise, prominent brands have used this day to advocate their commitment to gender equality.
Apart from the “fearless girl” that bravely stands in front of the charging bull of Wall Street, that calls for more women at the executive level, top brands have released video and social campaigns that capitalize on gender stereotypes and advocate for women’s rights. Amidst a number of campaigns including Nike’s global efforts to target stereotypes, Tory Burch’s message to embrace ambition, Microsoft’s “Make What’s Next” and Burger King’s super adorable “Can you be our burger queen”, I found United Benetton’s #UnitedByHalf campaign to be my favorite.
I fell in love with this campaign due to a personal bias. It not only targets gender stereotypes but also hits close to home as it is based on South Asian women. United Benetton has its second largest market in India and its popular amongst the men hence, the ad spot encourages them to recognize women as equal partners.
The 90-second ad spot aptly captures a snapshot of the desires of progressive South Asian women. Contrary to societal norms, it shows them in non-traditional roles, performing activities that are non considered “appropriate” or “fitting” for women. The voiceover of the spot takes up a stern tone and demands equal rights for women as it encourages them to settle for nothing less than equal and, for men to acknowledge them. The spot has a strong ending as it concludes with “Women have been denied their half for far too long, let us unite for the equal half.” Hence, the ad positions the brand as a platform that not only advocates gender equality but also provides for a platform for women to unite and demand for their rights.
This ad hits close to home because in the South Asian culture, women are often overlooked as equal partners. Traditionally, they have been considered to be homemakers and usually denied an equal opportunity be it at home or at work. However, trends are now changing: Women are more informed about their rights and they are demanding for better treatment. Hence, ads like these highlight issues from a woman’s perspective, drive important conversations and make men more aware.