International days are set to raise awareness about a subject matter. One of the most famous international day is probably the International Women’s Day, but many others exist such as International Day of Forests (21 March), World Water Day (22 March), World Environment Day (5 June), World Day Against Child Labor (12 June) etc. Using them in campaigns are a great opportunity for brands to be talked about. But are they working?
When I started my search about special international days on the Web, I was quite surprised by my findings! There are plenty of lists available: the one from the United Nations, another one from UNESCO, a list from Wikipedia etc. Then, as I was reading what kind of international days were listed I noted that some were more famous – or more used in campaigns and presented in media – than others. For example, the International Women’s Day is unavoidable. Being a brand and not communicate on the 8th of March has become a nonsense. But are these campaigns efficient? Well… I’m afraid that some stereotypes and clichés are still quite strong.
Messages about inequality between men and women at work are triggering initiatives and trends such as creating women network or awareness trainings within organizations. In terms of campaigns, some interesting initiatives can be observed. Here is an example: “Own Business Girl”.
Metro Germany launched a campaign to support Women Entrepreneurship: for each newborn girl born on 8th March 2018 in Dusseldorf, a 2000 EUR fixed-term deposit was given. Why such endeavour? Based on a study, a Germany-based Metro’s International Own Business Study, 45% of women want to start their own business, but just 12% think they ever will. The main reason stopping them? Lack of financial support.
Ad agencies have also grab the opportunity to communicate about either their support or their actions related to this famous day.
Unfortunately, this type of campaign is having an impact only for a short period of time. Once the famous international day has passed, all is gone and forgotten. Even if the #Adpology was to be praised, stereotypes in ads are still used.
…haven’t overcome old-fashioned brands yet
The worse ads are probably the ones full of stereotypes and targeting the young ones. Saying that, I was quite disappointed by the last Disneyland Paris campaign in Parisian metro stations to promote their “Festival Pirates and Princesses”.
After a visit on Disneyland Paris’ website, I figured out that the following choice is given: whether you join Cinderella, Moana, Snow White or other princesses or you join the Captain Hook, Jake, Peter Pan, Wendy and other pirates. Even if Wendy is part of the Pirates group, the poster used to promote the event is quite falling into old-fashioned stereotypes. Maybe, it is a Work In Progress presentation, since there is on the frontpage “pirates” written with 3 “r” letters?
Other changes to come?
Last year, Unilever announced a partnership with UN Women and other companies to launch Unstereotype Alliance. The purpose? Accelerate progress around how women and men are portrayed in ads and brand-led content. According to a quote of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women and Under- Secretary-General of the United Nations in The Drum: “Advertising is a particularly powerful driver to change perceptions and impact social norms”. Maybe soon, erasing gender biases in ads will become THE norm and not a differentiator for brands?