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Lo-res_1051757447-SWhen we mention “holiday marketing,” the first holiday that comes to mind might not be International Women’s Day. But around the world, brands have taken inspiration from the holiday to share marketing messages about their dedication to women’s rights and equality and their efforts to ensure advances for women across the globe. The examples range from conventional advertising spots to creative marketing initiatives.
For example, Walmart’s campaign consisted mainly of television ads featuring female executives with the company, most of whom had started in entry-level positions and risen through the hierarchy. Thus Walmart could signal its commitment to promoting and encouraging female employees. Hulu raised billboards featuring famous women who appear on shows on the streaming service, such as Elisabeth Moss, the star of The Handmaid’s Tale, and Margaret Atwood, the author of the book on which the series is based. Along with their pictures, the billboards offer inspirational quotes from these female opinion leaders.
Moving beyond such spots, Dove Chocolate used International Women’s Day to launch a new market in the village of Gueyo, in Cote d’Ivoire. The village is home to many female cocoa growers, and the new market gives them a central location in which to sell their products, as well as hold meetings and educational courses to learn ways to enhance their operations and gain more financial independence.
On Tinder, International Women’s Day was celebrated by an announcement of a donation of $1 million in free advertising on the dating app to nonprofit organizations dedicated to supporting women. For example, an educational nonprofit that seeks to eliminate gender inequality, called “She’s the First,” already has established its advertisement on the platform. At the same time, Tinder announced that it had hired an analytics firm to review its pay policies, to ensure it was not imposing a wage gap on female employees, and introduced a new internship option to attract more women to apply for jobs with the company.
Not all of these inspired efforts were successful though. The U.S. Air Force released a short video of female fighter pilots, comparing them to the latest, female Captain Marvel character and encouraging other potential recruits to consider a flying career with the military. But allegations by Senator Martha McSally, the first female fighter pilot in the United States, that she had suffered sexual assault during her service came out just days after the video was released, challenging the Air Force’s assertion that it was a safe and welcoming option for women.

Discussion Questions:
1. Are marketing communications such as these examples evidence of inspiration by International Women’s Day, or are they exploiting the commemoration?
2. What other holidays might prompt similarly inspired messages?


Source: Olivia Raimonde, “See How Brands Are Promoting Empowerment for International Women’s Day,” Advertising Age, March 7, 2019