In 2015, SheKnows Media held the very first #Femvertising Awards, an event celebrating the most empowering advertising campaigns which we are seeing a huge wave of around the world. Dove started it with their “real beauty” campaigns, and Always kicked it up a notch with the “Like A Girl” videos which was the female empowerment rallying cry heard around the world. The 2nd annual Femvertising awards winners were recently announced at an event which also released the findings of a report about the importance of advertising that appeals to women and their self-esteem.
We’ve seen a number of brands recognize how much more powerful it is to foster positivity in a woman’s self-image, rather than cashing in on a consumer’s low self-esteem. It is a much-welcome turn in the influential world of advertising which filters into our lives whether we think about it or not.
Katrian Hayat, co-founder and president of Prizm Media Inc., in an article from July 2015 writes that the industry should be taking note of the change.
“‘Femvertising’ is making huge waves and dollars in the industry. Empowering women has become the hottest way to make a profit for companies targeting women. While many may scoff that ‘femvertising’ is manipulative, female-positive advertising is a good thing – and we should all be taking notes…an overall movement towards treating women like real, thinking individuals equal to men is huge in the notoriously sexist marketing industry,” she said.
She brings it down to real-world metrics, explaining how her 8 year-old daughter gets frustrated and upset about the images of women in bathing suits, and how she wants to valued for who she is, not just for her body.
“We should all be paying attention to ‘femvertising’ because, believe me, people like my impressionable daughter are listening. As businessmen and businesswomen, especially in marketing, we have incredible influence on public opinion. Being socially conscious is a proven, powerful tool that we can capitalize on to profit our companies – but we should also lead the way for progress while we do,” she concluded.
This year, SheKnows have released their findings which emphasize just how real and impactful advertising is on consumers. The survey, fielded online in September 2016, examined attitudes toward the pro-female advertising movement in which brands are increasingly building gender-equality messages and images into ads that target women.
Responses were compared to SheKnows Media’s original #Femvertising study, which was revealed at Advertising Week in 2014. This year, however, nearly 4,000 people took the survey compared to just over 600 in 2014. In addition, SheKnows Media opened the #Femvertising survey up to men.
A first look at the findings show that while an overwhelming majority of women (97%) and men (90%) think advertising has an impact on how society views women, just 65% of men believe portraying women as sex symbols in ads is harmful. Among women, that statistic jumps up to 90%.
The results were revealed during a panel held in New York City on September 26 featuring high-profile advertising industry names such as Madonna Badger, creator of the #WomenNotObjects campaign, Jodi Harris, Head of Consumer Insights, Anheuser Busch, Jamia Wilson, Executive Director of Women, Action and the Media and Angelique Roche, Vice President, External Affairs, Ms. Foundation for Women.
The panel event was also held to reveal the winners of the #Femvertising awards, which were chosen by the public from more than 7000 votes cast over a two-week period. Bud Light were among the finalists for their foray into the femvertising space. They became the first brewery to partner with the White House on the Equal Pay pledge which is targeting major corporations and businesses to pledge to tackle the problem of the wage gap.
This year’s winning #Femvertising Awards campaigns include:
- Dadvertising – a new category for ads that break away from traditional gender roles: Dad-Do by Pantene
- Humor: The Bud Light Party: Equal Pay by Bud Light
- Inspiration: Rule Yourself: Women’s Gymnastics by Under Armour
- Next-Generation: Why Girls Can’t Code by Girls Who Code
- People’s Choice: Red Elephant Foundation
- Social Impact: #WomenNotObjects by Badger & Winters
“#Femvertising continues to be a powerful force in the advertising industry, propelled by award-winning ads like Always’ #LikeAGirl, Dove’s wildly successful Real Beauty campaign, as well as a focus on feminist issues like the gender pay gap and the monumental first of having a woman running for president. But our work is far from done. #Femvertising must continue to evolve by becoming more inclusive, and by pushing modern portrayals of all people in order to help advance the fight for gender parity,” said Samantha Skey, President and Chief Revenue Officer at SheKnows Media.
The culture is changing and it is about time. It is exciting to see the progress and acknowledge that there is a very good chance the current generation of young girls will have the privilege of growing up in a world where they are not overwhelmed with messages about their bodies being a commodity, and their worth coming from their looks.
You can read more about the major findings from the femvertising below: