This seems to be the year that advertisers finally woke up the fact that the people buying stuff—85% of the people buying stuff, in fact—are women. A growing number of ads are breaking away from tired gender stereotypes and presenting women and women’s products in a way consumers can actually relate to.
The ad industry has also stepped up, recognizing these campaigns with new awards, like the Glass Lion, which was presented to the best ad to tackle gender inequality issues at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in March. Now, the #Femvertising Awards, presented at the #BlogHer15: Experts Among US conference on Friday, have created a similar honor.
“Advertisers have a responsibility to shape the conversation,” said Samantha Skey, chief revenue and marketing officer of SheKnows Media, the women’s lifestyle digital media company responsible for both the #Femvertising Awards and #BlogHer15. “As a women-focused company, we felt we had an opportunity to encourage a more positive discussion in the media,” she said.
More than 60 nominations were submitted by organizations such as Adweek, Pinterest, One Kings Lane, MSNBC, Huffington Post and Forbes. The ads were then posted on the #Femvertising website, where users could vote for their favorites.
Here’s a look at the winning ads, by category:
Humor: First Moon Party, HelloFlo/Always
“First Moon Party” tells the cringe-worthy and hilarious story of a tween girl who fakes her first period. Her mother throws her a mortifying “First Moon” celebration, complete with pin the tampon on the period and a game of bobbing for ovaries.
“[It] seems like a total farce, but it’s really based on the idea that parents are trying to celebrate their daughters, but they don’t know how,” said Naama Bloom, the CEO and founder of HelloFlo. The video makes light of what is often an uncomfortable conversation and “takes the edge off,” Bloom said.
Inspiration: Courage Inside, Ram Trucks
This ad aims to destroy the misconception that women aren’t as brave as their male counterparts. Ram reminds viewers that women serve in the military, hunt and, yes, drive pickup trucks.
“We wanted to celebrate women’s strength; their accomplishment and their fortitude,” said Marissa Hunter, head of Ram advertising. But it’s not just about the physical acts of daring, she said. “Being a mom takes a lot of courage too.”
Next Generation: Like a Girl, Always
This Always campaign is based on research that finds that girls’ confidence drops precipitously during puberty, with many young women developing body-image and self-esteem issues in their pre-teen years. The videos show young girls challenging our idea of what it means to “run like a girl” and battering boxes labeled with stereotypes about girls and women.
“Like a Girl is a long-time favorite of mine,” said Skey. “Seeing girls realize on film that being a girl doesn’t have to be a limitation is really powerful,” she said.
Social Impact: Speak Beautiful, Dove/Twitter
The Speak Beautiful campaign was a partnership between Dove and Twitter intended to stop women from speaking negatively about themselves and others on social media. Showing the kinds of destructive messages that proliferate on Twitter and then telling viewers to #SpeakBeautiful instead, the campaign is a “tangible call to action,” according to Skey.
The campaign’s success lies in the fact that it calls “for a really simple change in behavior,” Skey said.
There were three additional #Femvertising awards given out on Friday evening. The People’s Choice award was chosen by voters and given to Indian women’s safety awareness website Sayfty, while the Hatch Award winner Sport England was selected by participants in SheKnows’ digital storytelling and media literacy program for kids. The WildFire Award was dedicated to L’Oreal’s “Women of Worth” initiative.