Women-centric social media campaigns by Nike, H&M, Whisper, and many other companies are smashing the gender norms all across the globe.
The online marketing and advertising industry have, conventionally, been a genre that focused primarily on fitting into their audiences’ shoes by stressing on the same social norms. The results? Tremendous women objectification and idealization rather than female empowerment.
However, the same social norms are changing, and we are witnessing a dramatic alteration in the online portrayal of the wonderful ladies. Toxic and controversial campaigns like the beach body campaign aren’t a very distant memory to us, but many brands are trying their best to push this memory in the farthest corners of our brains.
Luckily, those days are gone when the ads featured stereotypical gender roles. Today’s advertisements are more than women busy in the kitchen and men failing at basic household tasks. Our ads are evolving along with society.
Nevertheless, here are some of the best out of all the empowering social media campaigns that we witnessed in recent years:
1. Memac Ogilvy and Mather- #autocompletetruth
This powerful campaign started for the UN Women in Dubai reveals the shocking auto-complete phrases seen on Google while searching for anything related to women.
The results were absolutely horrifying- from Women shouldn’t have rights to Women shouldn’t work- this campaign exposed the very presence of sexism around the corner.
Twitter got flooded with over 24M mentions with this hashtag, sparking discussion over unraveled topics among the men and women from over 100 nations.
2. Gisele Bündchen– I Will What I Want
This video from 2014 shows the comments that model Gisele Bündchen gets on the internet in real-time while she kicks and punches a bag vigorously.
The video display the comments on the walls around her. It interprets the hypocrisy and degraded mentality of the society that judges women irrespective of whatever they do.
The comments are pretty disparaging and ridiculous, pointing directly towards the online space that we have created for the ladies (claps).
3. Cardstone- World’s Toughest Job
Being one of the most eye-opening social media campaigns, this video clip from 2015 is for those who look down on the home-makers of our society.
The four minutes long video is enough to trigger anybody into retrospecting their views on the women who choose to stay back at their homes and raise their families.
The way these people have interviewed actual candidates seeking a job is pretty commendable. I recommend you to watch it. I have totally spoiled the twist anyway.
4. Western Union – #TheRaceIsOn
A cleverly depicted campaign released in 2017 by Western Union celebrates the role of girls’ education in today’s era.
The video shows little girls from around the world, running to their schools in the morning. The narrator elaborates that they are running for their future goals.
Directed and shot cleverly, this campaign sheds light on the need to educate the girl child and indirectly speaks to us how women are not really allowed to grow in their careers after a certain point.
5. My Favourite Things- Volkswagen
This video is a fantastic slow-motion shot for the car racing lovers out there. It shows a driver performing donuts while drifting and racing with their car.
The driver finally stops the car to reveal her face, and yes, she is a lady (we all could predict here). The lady is Shivani Pruthvi, a professional race driver at the age of 21.
6. The Body Shop India
Hold on before you get started on how Women’s cricket is not a taboo anymore. Ask yourself, do you still see as many women on the cricket ground as men?
That is exactly what this campaign focuses on- encouraging the younger girls to go out and play without worrying about getting tanned or bruised.
Smriti Mandhana, Radha Yadav, and Jemimah Rodrigues talk to us in this video about how cricket is not just a gentleman’s play anymore.
7. Girliyapa- India’s Next Role Model
With a sarcastically crafted title (if you know, you know), this video talks about some hugely influential, unheard role models of Indian history.
The video depicts a mother and her daughter in a toy shop. While the shopkeeper shows them the toys for girls, the little girl asks for a tank, prompting the shopkeeper to say that it is not for the girls.
The mother, in reply, starts narrating some stories of the very amazing ladies in history. With a hilarious plotline and awakening stories, this campaign is a must-watch.
8. Mercy Academy – Not a Princess
The controversies surrounding barbie dolls recently provoked a not-so-thought-about topic. i.e., to stop treating the women like princesses.
This 2013 campaign from Kentucky all-female Catholic school speaks out loud on this topic. It urges the girls to give up on this whole princess thing, and start preparing for real-life battles, instead.
9. MySchoolReviews- Little Dress
A beautifully shot video of a mother and her daughter playing in their bedroom shows the little girl reciting Mary Had A Little Lamb. But here’s a twist, the phrases from this poem are different, yet creepily relatable to the words we hear on a daily basis.
The video aims at telling people how they unknowingly teach fear their daughters with their words and attitude over the years.
The campaign further instigates the parents to revamp their ways of upbringing, and teach their daughters to be courageous at the very core.
10. Prega News- Your Second Home
A housemaid, Radha, wanders around the rooms, doing the chores while the lady in the house interrupts her in every task that she performs. The premise continues, and we get to see the lady hiring a new maid at home, and asking Radha to rest at home.
Confused and emotional, Radha defends herself while the lady comforts her, saying that she needs more rest as she is pregnant.
It is one of the most beautiful social media campaigns by Prega News that urges the ladies to support each other during the days of their pregnancy.
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11. Prerna for Women
A little boy dresses up as his mother in a fancy dress competition at his village. While his peers resort to laughing and mocking him on the stage, he beautifully delivers his thoughts to the listeners.
The campaign talks about the identity of farmer women in the rural area. The smart video approach through the innocent and pure perspective of a child is commendable and engaging at its best.
The video truly empowers women farmers and is a must-watch for all.
12. Nike – What are girls made of?
Nike released a campaign of a girl and her choir singing on what seems like a school auditorium. The girl starts reciting what composes a girl.
The little girl starts off her words by quoting the girls to be made of flowers and rings and continues with further qualities of self-dedication, perseverance, grace, bravery, independence, dignity, and many more.
The two minutes long, compelling video of a is a sure shot to hit all the right chords.
13. Fanpage.it- Slap Her
I suppose we have all watched this video by now. And if you haven’t, trust me, you are missing out on something very pure yet revolutionary.
The campaign released in 2015 highlights the absurdity of violence against women. They put cute young boys in front of young girls, ask them to interact a bit, then ask the boys to slap her.
The response that we get is not only heart-warming but is also evidence that domestic violence is not a natural but a learned behavior.
14. Greenply- #StopSayingWomenCant
Greenply did a social experiment to throw light on how women sometimes tend to underestimate their own skills and caliber despite the efforts that they put in.
Women inside an art gallery speculate the various artworks and give their opinion on which ones were a woman’s creation. Their guesses wander from food to clothing and other pieces of artwork, but no one thinks about the furniture.
Conceptualized by Ogilvy, this video succeeds at proving how we, as women ourselves, are unable to shackle the taboos that reside in our minds.
15. Candere by Kalyan Jewellers
This advertisement revolves around the lives of seven different women, asking them stereotypical questions about their individuality.
Candere’s campaign aims at urging the women to start living for themselves over anyone else. The video celebrates every woman’s individuality in the form of their dreams, strengths, and self-love.
Conceptualized by Bandstand Videos, the campaign supersedes at inspiring the women to start living a life based on their individuality as a person in the society.
16. Edelweiss Group- The Right Advice
This campaign covers the struggle of Bhakti Sharma. Bhakti is an Indian who created a world record by swimming 2.25km in Antarctica’s freezing water.
In the video, she stresses the importance of the right advice given by her coach throughout her journey. She owes her victory to her coach- Leena Sharma, who is also her mother.
The idea behind the campaign is to state that there can be a woman behind the right advice.
17. Schweppes- The Dress for Respect
Schweppes, with their 2018 campaign, talk to people about how touching someone without consent is disgusting and not normal.
In the video, three women wear a dress with sensors fit on the places where it is objectionable to touch and head out to a bar at night. The team which monitors them is shocked by the sensor recordings and the people’s attitude around the three candidates, in general.
Schweppes takes on a unique approach towards the issue and finds disturbing results by the end of this experiment, concerning enough for any normal person.
18. My Pale Skin- You Look Disgusting
To do something out of the box is not everyone’s cup of tea. Kudos to Em, a YouTube star who posted her photos with zero makeup on her Instagram, and revealed her acne to the entire world.
The kinds of comments she received are depressing and YELL at the insecurities residing inside the people’s minds that prompts them to comment so.
This video from 2015 displays the hypocrisy of the people being unhappy with her pics with or without makeup. The campaign is a must-watch for the people who are being harsh to themselves for the sake of pleasing the world.
19. Pantene- Labels Against Women
A video comparing the type of labels people get for the same behavior when they belong to different genders is saddening, yet true.
Pantene released the campaign in 2013 explains how a man and a woman perform the same actions, but get different tags from people’s points of views.
It is one of those thought-provoking social media campaigns that show the mirror to its viewers and urges them to stop judging people by their gender.
Some Noteworthy Mentions
Here are some more campaigns that we could not help but notice making differences in the viewers’ minds:
Max Fashion- #BehenKuchBhiPehen
OkCupid India- Flip The Question
#CookForHer Pledge by iD
LIVA- My Life My Tag
Platinum Evara- Kanyadaan
H&M- She’s A Lady
Did I Miss Anything?
Women’s day is around the corner. And it’s high time that we remind every woman we know that every day is her day if she refuses to give up on herself. I have listed above some of the most thought awakening social media campaigns that I can recall. Do you have some more on your mind? Wish to add something? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below; I would love to hear from you!