Female empowerment in advertising – otherwise known as ‘femvertising’ – is nothing new. Brands like Always, Dove and Pantene have long been championing ‘real’ women; their campaigns the perfect antidote to the old-fashioned stereotypes still lingering in society. Always’ #Likeagirl campaign hit a home run when it launched in 2014, and 3 years on the bold message of inner confidence and freedom is still just as relevant.
But what we know to be ‘femvertising’ is changing. So much so that the term itself feels redundant (…okay, lets face it, it was never really that necessary in the first place). 21st century feminism is embracing intersectionality – undoubtedly influenced by recent political tremors – and many brands are following suit. Brands are now delivering empowerment en-mass with campaigns that transcend traditional feminism to challenge gender, race and cultural norms.
Take Nike’s recent ‘Believe in More’ campaign – a set of three individual ads encouraging women to get active in Russia, the Middle East and Turkey – which launched on International Women’s Day. Inspiring imagery of women and girls skateboarding, boxing and rugby tackling not only challenge gender stereotypes in sport but start a conversation on barriers within race, religion, and social class.
Like all social initiatives, brands actually need to authentically engage with a cause or hold a belief true in order to convey it to consumers in an effective, meaningful and motivating way.