Is #IWD2018 really a marketing opportunity?

Anna MacDonald on March 2, 2018

Since the 2017 International Women’s Day, the world, at least the world for Western women, has changed.

We’ve had the Harvey Weinstein allegations that kicked off the #metoo movement, which in turn, led to the #timesup initiative. While the US led #metoo, we had our own Australian champion with Tracey Spicer meticulously exposing the conduct of some notable men in our entertainment industry. In a short time, there has been a seismic shift in how we view sexual harassment in the workplace, and more broadly, the importance of women’s voices.

So how will 2018 International Women’s Day be different?  Has the #metoo movement changed what this day means? And will brands, who began aligning to it only recently, note this shift?

Limited edition Jane Walker bottles. Diageo is donating up to $250,000 from the sale of Jane Walker to women’s causes alongside a commitment to increase gender diversity within its advertising teams

International Women’s Day is an opportunity for brands to do something genuine for women, whether in their companies, their communities or women in disadvantaged countries who are the most at risk. Done well, they get to bask in the warm customer afterglow of social good, but it needs to be something real, something more than a last-minute marketing opportunity or an easy way to pay lip service to their female employees via a “Happy IWD!” social post, followed by 364 days of silence.

Beyond International Women’s Day, there is an incredible opportunity for all brands marketing to women to recognise and celebrate this newfound sense of strength and empowerment, then, to tap into it.  Women are increasingly less tolerant of sexist ads, ads that assume they are passengers and not drivers, ads that seem so, well, so 2016.  Attitude change is rapid, and brands that aren’t seeing this change in attitude will lose out.

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