A newer marketing trend has been growing over the past few years. This trend is focused around empowering women to be smart, strong, beautiful, and confident. The advertisements used for this trend are commonly called “Fempowerment Ads.”
The recent marketing trend towards “Fempowerment” advertising seems to have originated in 2012. One of the most notable advertisements during this time was Procter & Gamble’s Mother’s Day television ad, which played before the 2012 London Olympics. The commercial showed multiple Moms from around the world supporting their children by waking them up, cooking, driving them around, cheering at their sporting events, and finally, cheering at the Olympics. The heartfelt commercial was well received by audiences worldwide. Since its debut, multiple “Thank you, Mom” videos have been created by the company. Many of these videos have become Procter & Gamble’s most popular videos and helped with the company’s Social success.
Procter & Gamble’s Pantene brand created a comical ad called “Sorry, not sorry,” which presented multiple situations where women usually say “sorry.” The ad then fades to white with the text, “Don’t be sorry” followed by the “be strong and shine.” The same scenes then play out again, but the women act strong and stand firm.
In 2013, Dove created the “Real Beauty” campaign. The basis behind the campaign was to show women they are more beautiful than they think they are. The campaign started with a video on YouTube that showed women describing themselves to a sketch artist. They tended to focus on physical qualities of their own face that they considered problematic. However, when other people were asked to describe the same women’s faces, the sketches created were more accurate and more attractive. The message from the video was that women are more beautiful than they think they are. The video received over 60 million views worldwide and received significant positive attention, showing that Dove’s message resonated with the viewers.
Many other ads have surfaced using similar techniques to push the “You go, girl” message. Goldieblox, Inc., created a commercial showcasing the intellect and ingenuity of three little girls who would rather build and create than play with dolls. The commercial cleverly shows the girls activating a Rube Goldbergian contraption using various stereotypical toys for young girls. A Rube Goldbergian contraption is a device that is intentionally over-engineered using a chain reaction to perform a simple task. The game Mouse Trap is a simple example of this. The contraption created by the girls travels throughout the house, out into the yard, then back in again to turn on the television. The ad delivers two messages. The main, and more powerful message, is that women can be creators and innovators too. The second message was to promote the Goldieblox brand, which consists of girls toys that were created for young girls who like to learn and explore.
Another commercial that pushes a similar message is Verizon’s “Inspire Her Mind” commercial. This video shows multiple scenes from a girl’s life, and how her parents unintentionally pushed their daughter away from exploring science. In one clip, the girl (maybe five or six years old) walks in rain boots through a small creek and you can hear her mother say “Don’t get your dress dirty.” Another clip shows an older version of her using a drill to build something with her brother. Before she can start to drill, her father say “Be careful with that, why don’t you hand it to your brother?” At the end of the commercial, the same girl looks at a bulletin with a science fair flyer behind the glass. She then pulls out her lip gloss, fixes her lips in the reflection, then walks away showing her loss of interest in science. The narrator then says, “Our words can have a huge impact, isn’t it time you told her that she is pretty brilliant too?”
As with any trend, there will be companies who jump on the bandwagon because of its trendy nature, instead of attempting to push an important message. However, marketing experts think that audiences will be able to see through their attempts and that the blowback will be strong and disastrous for any firms trying to take advantage of the serious message.
The moral of the story is that sincerity in advertising can truly benefit a brand when employing cause marketing. Think about promoting past the product by promoting a positive message as well.