To celebrate International Women’s Day we collated the advertising campaigns that we found the most empowering and inspiring for women of all ages and ethnicities from recent years.

Goldieblox Superbowl commercial
Agency: RPA
2014

Toy manufacturer Goldieblox, who looks to inspire and educate girls about the STEM industries, scored a Superbowl commercial spot after winning Intuit’s ‘Small Business, Big Game’ contest. The commercial was viewed by over 100 million people, went viral online and with the aid of a Beastie Boys song scandal secured international attention.

“It’s such a refreshing change to see empowered, active, fierce little girls – a departure from the representation of women in general during the Super Bowl,” explains Rachel Sklar, attorney and media critic.

Nike: What are girls made of?
Agency: W+K Amsterdam
2017

In honour of IWD 2017 Nike Women created 3 adverts that challenged cultural traditions and gender stereotypes in specific regions – the Middle East, Russia and Turkey.

When asked about the advertising campaign, W&K Amsterdam Creative Directors, Craig Williams and AI Merry stated, “in some parts of the world, what’s daunting about sport for women is how they look in their exercise pants. In the regions we worked in, what was more daunting, was societal expectations, gender discrimination, community pressure and the weight of traditions. Those are the barriers we tried to help break down, in order to clear the way for women to play sport.”

P&G Always: #LikeAGirl – Keep Playing
Agency: Leo Burnett
2016

50% of girls quit sports by the end of puberty and 50% of girls see a prop in confidence after they reach puberty according to research conducted by Always. As part of the ongoing #LikeaGirl campaign the 60 second ad, ‘Keep playing’ champions women taking part in sport to tie in with the run-up to the Rio Olympics.

Always partnered with Soccer star, Alex Morgan, who shared the ad on social media as well as her own story, “At age 13, one of my coaches told me that I wasn’t good enough. As a young girl just wanting to play and do my best, that was difficult to hear. It would have been easy for me to quit, but I wouldn’t be the confident person I am today if I had.”

Barbie: #MoreRoleModels
2018

Ahead of International Women’s Day 2018, Barbie announced its #MoreRolesModels campaign this week with the launch of 17 dolls in the likeness of modern day and historic inspirational women. The collection aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, fine artist Frida Kahlo and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson.

Professional Boxer, Nicola Adams OBE is a proud partner of Barbie and was also honoured to be first ever UK ‘Shero’ and boxer Barbie doll, ‘there were no female boxers in media when I was a kid, and I might have discovered my passion sooner if I’d seen other women boxing. That’s why empowering the next generation of kids is something I’m passionate about and it’s great to work with Barbie to share my story now.’

 The British Army: This is Belonging
Agency: Karmarama
2018

The British Army’s most recent campaign includes a series of short animated films accompanied by real-life experiences from army recruits. The ads aim to address gender, race and religious issues which may be deterring potential candidates from applying.

This campaign is a major change from their previous campaigns in how the ads look as well as the messaging portrayed. Carl W. Jones, Senior Lecturer in PR & Advertising at the University of Westminster says, ‘UK urban consumers see over 5,000 messages a day and remember only 3 or 4. So by using ‘flowing’ animation; real soldiers’ voiceovers; and insights from contemporary society, the army has created a new audio/visual language that generates impact with future recruits.’

2018 is a great time to be celebrating International Women’s Day.  Sure there have been many messages and movements in the last 2 years from Pantsuit nation to #MeToo and of course Academy award-winning actress Frances McDormand’s call for #Inclusion riders.  Women are speaking up and being supported locally, nationally and globally. From Iceland legalizing Equal Pay in January to Massachusetts passing the Pay Equity Law, it will be increasingly difficult for companies or individuals to ignore the conversation.

What are you doing to celebrate IWD?