Female Empowerment in Ads in the Social Media and Digital Age

girlsscience

Because my plans are to go into marketing specifically advertising, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to publications like AdWeek and Advertising Age to gleam some of the most creative ads that I could.  When I mean creative, I’m talking about ads that really manage to leverage the power of social media advertising and create a sense of internet virality.

Verizon Wireless managed to tug into the heartstrings of people worldwide with an advertisement as part of their Powerful Answers campaign, with a strong message to encourage young girls to enter into STEM fields, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical fields.

Days after the ad hit youtube, it racked up millions and millions of views. In fact, nearly 4 million people have watched the ad.  It really hit me how viral this ad became when I saw it even show up on my Facebook feed when a friend of mine saw it and retweeted.  When I checked Twitter, I saw hundreds and hundreds of conversations around this ad about its powerful message. The ad was then prominently featured on Good Morning America and national publications like The Huffington Post and Slate magazine.  The goal of the campaign was to break the gender barriers for women, to believe in their own thinking and get them to enter fields in STEM.

This is a far cry from ads of incredible sexist ads of yesteryear include the famous Delmonte Ketchup ad, that said opening Ketchup bottle was so easy that even a women could do it.  Of course the year this ad came out was 1953, but in this day and age one can only ask the question – What were they ever thinking??

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With a caption below it that read ““We’ve make it so easy to open our ketchup bottles even women, with their weak fingers and stupid not-man brain, can open to access our quality vinegar-tomato puree.””

The InspireHerMind campaign has been so successful that Verizon has launched series of Smartphone wallpapers based on the campaign, challenging girls to explore new fields and follow their passions

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It’s even spawned a series of women empowerment ads from other brands including one from Proctor and Gamble Dove commercial “Fight Like a Girl”.

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The focus of the “Like a Girl” campaign by Procter and Gamble was to change the connotation of what it means to “Fight Like a Girl” Dove aimed to reframe the saying as no longer an insult but an expression of strength.  The message proved to be powerful and was prominently featured in advertising week the week it was released.

The success of these campaigns brings to mind some questions.  And this might sound callous or heartless, but the bottom line for companies using advertising is to sell more product. So usually when you see an ad for Verizon, it is talking about the power of their wireless network.  Usually when you see an ad from Proctor and Gamble it is touting the modern convenience of one of its many products including Dove soap.  So one thing remains to be questioned.  Will these types of empowerment ads actually translate into increased market share for the companies?

My answer to that is I think they will. Companies can benefit from a lot of goodwill that these types of ads create from the consumer’s perspective.  People might associate Proctor and Gamble or Verizon as big greedy corporations and refuse to give them their business.  Ads like #InspireHerMind inspire hundreds of thousands of conversations and goodwill for the companies that will ultimately help contribute to their bottom line.

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I imagine that the Inspire Her Mind Campaign from Verizon and the Fight Like a Girl campaign really resonated especially with parents, moms and dads with little girls of their own.  I don’t have kids but I do have a six year old niece who I love and love to spoil.  She loves ballet and she wants to be a ballerina.  After thinking about this topic of empowering young women in the digital age, I told her that she didn’t have to just be a ballerina, she could also aspire to be a Mathematician or an Astronaut.

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Well, little nice didn’t know what an astronaut was so I explained what exactly an astronaut was to her.

“Astronauts get to fly too the moon,” I said.

After thinking about my explanation she responded.

“I really don’t want to be an astronaut”

The way she said it was so cute, and it gave me a laugh.  But with empowering ads like these now entering the social space, and resonating with the public and the media, one can only wonder if in a couple years she may rethink her aspiration.

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