Are women just the latest marketing fad?

Andi McDermott on July 27, 2017

Something is happening to my screens. My tv, my computer, my phone are all showing the same thing. Women. More specifically, women doing things. And saying things. They are talking about their strength, weakness, and their potential, and their power, knowledge. Yes, some of them are still smiling and cleaning, and talking to their “useless” blob husbands, but others are playing sport, and have jobs, and come in different shapes and sizes.

 

WHAT. IS. HAPPENING.

 

Is this real?

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We can be multifaceted in advertising!

 

While some would argue that this has been the case for a while – “remember Dove???” I hear you reason – there is no denying that the visibility of empowered women in advertising has increased.

 

I am all for this. This is a step forward. But there is something that makes me wonder, is it really?

 

Riding the wave of the uptake in interest of gender politics and women’s equality – spurred on by last year’s presidential election – the last 12 months has seen the convergence of feminism and commerce. This has given us campaigns that have been all about the power and strength of women.

 

One of the most recent examples that come to mind is Libra’s Woman Kind, that is all about promoting their “roll, press and go” product. The TVCs tout that Libra is a brand that thinks about women, they’re made by women and that they are indeed a thoughtful brand.

 

Libra’s Woman Kind

 

And yes, while Libra’s products are all about making thoughtful things for women, this execution feels a bit forced. The version that is flooding my TV screen shows a young woman talking about the strength of women when they come together, and then a cut to the new product and how it works. It feels a bit disingenuous.

 

While there is an obvious connection here – a purely female experience with the strength of women – the point for brands at large is that you can’t just put a product next to a message about ~girl power~ and pack up for the day. This ad feels like part of a growing trend among marketers of embracing feminist ideals and female empowerment to push product (I’m looking at you, Teen Vogue).

 

To me, it shows a recognition by marketers that women are indeed a powerful consumer group but they don’t yet understand how to capitalise on the audience other than to jump on the bandwagon of empowerment.   

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Calvin Klein’s in on it.

 

The sudden influx of female empowerment in advertising is in no way a bad thing, but it makes me wonder – (I can’t believe I’m saying this) is the representation of empowerment becoming stereotypical? Are we witnessing fake feminism? Are brands (who have for the most part remained silent on women’s issues) playing on our hope for equality to make a dollar?

 

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