Brands court the ladies for International Women’s Day

Brands and marketers may seem unduly obsessed with millennials but they haven’t forgotten one thing: Women still hold the literal purse strings.  Women spend between $5 trillion and $15 trillion annually, according to a 2013 Nielsen report, and just as importantly to brands, today’s Leaned-In lady straddles a number of dynamic roles: focused working woman, family decision maker and everything in between.

And they have their own day too. International Women’s day is Sunday and brands will be going a-courtin’. Expect plenty of body-positive messaging from brands.

“Women want to be recognized for how they come in all ages, shapes, sizes, colors, and all have different and unique traits that should be celebrated.” said Keli Coughlin, executive director of non-profit The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund. “The general public keeps responding with more demand for these pro-female conversations.”

With that in mind, here’s what to look out for this weekend:

YouTube’s #DearMe

Fraught with self-esteem issues and emotional turbulence, becoming a woman has never been a simple journey. YouTube wants to do its bit to make it easier: The platform is encouraging women across the globe to upload a video letter addressed to their younger selves. The aim is to encourage girls to stay strong through their more difficult moments, an “It Gets Better” for the x-chromosome set.

YouTube has recruited some of its most prominent female influencers, including sex education vlogger Laci Green and YouTube make-up star Michelle Phan, in a campaign that began trending on Twitter globally within an hour of being launched on Tuesday. The hashtag #DearMe was mentioned more than 58,000 times on that day itself, according to social analytics firm Topsy.

Using popular influencer faces for this call-to-action campaign was a crucial move, according to John Donnelly, svp of sales and marketing at Crimson Hexagon.

“It’s one that is already helping YouTube drive views, engagement and positivity,” he said. “In fact, YouTube is now the only for-profit brand in the top 10 most-mentioned Twitter handles in U.S.-based tweets about International Women’s Day.”

Always’s #LikeAGirl

P&G brand Always is out to reclaim — and destigmatize — the expression “like a girl” with its latest campaign, turning the slur into a compliment.

The newest video in the #LikeAGirl campaign, which launched last year, has been timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, and shows young women around the world proudly demonstrating what they do “like a girl”: from rock-climbing to shooting hoops to computing.

According to the brand, the first video — uploaded last summer — has been watched 85 million times in 150 countries and the campaign and made a positive impact: 76 percent of young women aged 16 to 24 report that they no longer view the phrase “like a girl” as an insult.

The last video was uploaded March 3 and has already been viewed more than 61,000 times.

Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful
If #RealBeauty was Dove’s beautiful dream, #SpeakBeautiful has morphed into something of a nightmare for the brand. The campaign was launched by Dove and Twitter on Oscar Sunday to counter negative self-image issues that women have about themselves and their bodies. A nice sentiment, but it resulted in Dove tweeting out what the Washington Post called “unsolicited messages of affirmation to any and every lady who posted a negative thing about her body.”

The campaign has not been as well-received as its earlier efforts. But the brand, it seems, is undeterred and is continuing to extend the campaign for Women’s Day, posting videos and tweets.

Gap’s “One Stitch Closer”
Gap launched its “One Stitch Closer” campaign on International Women’s Day last year. Made up of inspiring stories from women all over the world, who by improving their own lives, bring us “one stitch closer” to a brighter tomorrow.

This year, the brand has teamed up with Francesca Kennedy, the co-founder of IX Style — a company that supports local artisans and helps them create sandals from leather and hand-woven Mayan textiles. Kennedy also does her bit to provide clean drinking water for women and children in Guatemala. Gap is putting four of the IX Style’s sandal styles on sale at its stores.

Videos will go up live on its microsite on March 8.

Coke’s “5by20 Initiative”

CocaCola 1
The beverage giant’s 5by20 initiative aims to economically empower 5 million women entrepreneurs all over the world by 2020.

Like Gap, Coke is highlighting inspiring women already having an impact on their communities, and is unveiling several stories just for International Women’s Day. The brand is also taking to Twitter to celebrate the occasion, playing on its famous “Share a Coke” campaign, and asking people to share a coke with these women. Because nothing is more empowering than sharing a drink linked to osteoporosis in women.

Mary Kay’s “Global Day of Beauty”
Cosmetic brand Mary Kay is celebrating the occasion by offering domestic violence survivors in Miami, Washington D.C., New York and Los Angeles a day of beauty and pampering, joined by actress Debby Ryan and fashion designer Abi Ferrin.

The events are a part of Mary Kay’s “Don’t Look Away” campaign, which aims to create awareness about dating abuse and domestic violence by educating women on recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship, how to take action and to raise awareness of support services.

The brand is also encouraging people tweet the hashtag #dontlookaway.

Women Only Worldwide Tour’s International Women’s Day contest
Canadian travel agency Women Only Worldwide (WoW) Tours, a subsidiary of Indus Travels, is launching a Facebook contest this International Women’s Day. Participants must correctly identify the locations pictured in three images that will be posted on the Indus Travels Facebook page between March 8 and 31 for a chance to win a 10-night, women-only trip to Northern India. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and includes a professional Henna session, a boat ride on the Ganges as well as yoga in the city of Varanasi.

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