In January this year, I was appointed Hub’s Chief Creative Officer. Passionate about creativity, both in my artistic practice and also creating content for brands, the last ten weeks have flown by. Hub have been busy developing new approaches to our internal process and client briefs, which included an incredible workshop with Lazar Dzamic. There have been a few ‘say what?!’ moments but it has been fast and fun – and it’s only the beginning of March!
As today is International Women’s Day, I felt it apt to start off a regular blog under the auspices of ‘Be Bold for Change’ and in celebration of creation, and creativity, everywhere.
Beyond the content created, promoted and distributed on International Women’s Day, some brands are catching on to the power and reach that women and girls are garnering – specifically in relation to issues and topics that directly impact them, contributing to the momentum of change for a more equal and fair society .
Advertising has a long history of objectifying women, in addition to employing patronising and manipulating narratives supporting gender conforming stereotypes. As we are rapidly becoming more global, socially diverse and connected through technology, it is somewhat telling of those brands and organisations that are ‘sticking to what they know’ and perpetuating the ‘same old story’. For how much longer are 50% of the globe’s consumers going to feel loyal to, connected with, and ultimately purchase from brands that they can’t recognise themselves in? The outcome for these organisations can be summed up in a process that has been around since the dawn of time… survival of the fittest.
It is hugely encouraging to see brands such as Nike, Adidas, Always, P&G and Western Union delivering campaigns that present women and girls as strong, able and in control!
Most recently Nike (Middle East) released ‘What will they say about you’, a campaign which shows women and girls skateboarding, fencing, boxing, figure skating and practising parkour. The visceral reaction the advert evokes, as we see these women/girls run, jump, ride, punch and spin, takes root in the resistance to what the limiting potential, based on gender creates. The film opens with a question and finishes with an answer ‘… they will say you are the next big thing!’
Last year P&G India ran a campaign #sharetheload for its washing detergent Ariel. The advert isn’t just aimed at women – it speaks to all of us in the household; mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters and brothers. The narrative is voiced by the patriarch of the family in a tone that is introspective and reflective. It compassionately holds a mirror up to gender inequality in the home but rather than just highlight the issue, it goes further and offers a solution to ‘share the load!’
Western Union, partnering up with International Women’s Day for the second consecutive year, are continuing their campaign #theraceison.
The 2017 60-second commercial opens with a young girl, about ten-year old, putting on her school backpack. She reaches behind and slaps it, instigating a flashing light and siren sound – a rally cry! Cutting between five different girls of roughly the same age, in five different countries, and from five different cultures – also narrated by a girl – we hear what connects them is that, the race is on, not for first place but for ‘firsts!’. And there are plenty of of those for the taking as our young protagonists simultaneously start a sprint for school; the first female to run the United Nations, the first president of the United States, the first female on the moon… ‘scrap the moon the first person to set foot on Mars’. Aimed at young girls the narrative will also resonate with parents who don’t want the opportunities for their daughters to be limited by gender discrimination. And, will also be felt by the many parents working abroad to economically support their families who are using services such as Western Union to send money home. The film ends with a clear and direct message to accompany that opening siren rally cry – ‘girls study harder and dream bigger.’
As 2016 politically, socially and culturally put a spotlight on gender inequality and doubles standards in a very loud and brutally visible way across the globe, I expect as we venture further into 2017, we will see more and more campaigns and adverts being bold and instigating change for more equal societies. I’m curious and look forward to seeing what surfaces.
With just one date in the calendar that marks out a day to celebrate women, I’d like to thank all of those in the Hub team that identify as female and whose talents and skills contribute to Hub’s success! Natalie W, Kate, Isy, Ursie, Rina, Natalie G and Mari, a huge Hub love and thank you!