Women are now more vocal about the type of advertising they want to see. They are now rallying behind brands where they can see themselves, not the skinny models everyone grew up seeing on television, newspapers, and magazines. Women are now also saying no to chauvinistic advertising and the objectification of women. For many brands, making that shift sounds easy enough to do. Just make sure your messaging is pro-women, right?
The consumer in this era is far more educated than before and will pick up on the most subtle of cues in an ad. Bianco’s “Equal pay is not enough” that perpetuates female stereotypes and brands that only place smaller models and use hashtags like #allgirls have come under fire for not understanding what real feminism is. The attempt to celebrate the women, for the people coming up with advertising concepts, is still laced with the very narratives that women are trying to change.
Therefore, as a brand wishing to appeal to women and show your support for the fight for their fundamental human rights, you have to think beyond. It is not merely envisioning what you think women want. It is about capturing the complexities of their experience. Take a web development company executive that has many huts to juggle, including a mother and a wife. If you are to run with this concept, you have to capture her as an individual and not as “all women.” Most of all, if you do not have at least a third of women in the group for your creative concepts, then you will more than likely get it wrong
The era of femvertising
A primary reason for brands misstep when aiming to depict themselves as pro-feminism is they are merely jumping on the bandwagon with no purpose in mind. If you feel inclined to use feminist advertising, focus on the message you’re sending and how you are positively adding to the existing global conversation.
Femvertising is somewhat of a landmine, and you, therefore, have to think twice or a couple of more times if your brand is to become part of the activist movement. Criticism will come, but when the messaging is clear, your work ought to speak for itself. Remember, the campaign you set in motion does not stand alone. People will look at what past and present standards your brand upholds and will call you out if they don’t align with the messaging.
Taking the feminist rote in advertising is, plainly put, not for everyone. If you don’t practice the messaging you put forth, you are better off sticking to aspects that equally affect your buyers. Most of all, every time femvertising is done wrong, the conversation takes a few steps back. Don’t contribute to that.