Sorry not sorry

July 18, 2014

Has anyone noticed how many brands have been nailing gender issues in their advertising lately? I’m a little conflicted about it because, yes, in the main, they’re selling products. But I love the fact that you can change the discourse around women’s products, beauty products and the lexicon we use to discuss things that are usually just spray painted pink and handed to us with patronising pat on the head. Sure, some of the ideals in the ads have but a tenuous link to their products (the Always and Pantene ads spring to mind) but doesn’t it make a refreshing change from this dreadful ‘Beauty Patch‘ one by Dove? OMG you mean there’s nothing on there and I have self esteem that you’re saying is my own but actually that came from pretending that there’s some crazy chemical thing that can make me beautiful because that’s basically the formula/life ideal you’ve been selling women since the inception of advertising?

Anyway.

Here’s my run down of my favourite feminist ads of the minute:

1. #ShineStrong – Pantene

The second I saw this I both cringed a deep, deep cringe and immediately loved it, because if there’s a word that I overuse, it’s sorry. Sorry you bumped into me, sorry for speaking and giving an opinion (in a business setting), sorry for having the armrest first, but oh no, you have it. There’s being polite (and erm, British) and then there’s apologising for your existence. Nope. No more.

2. #LikeAGirl – Always

What has throwing “like a girl” got to do with period paddage? Well, I’ve been in marketing for ages so I could probably give you an answer to that question, but I see your point…it’s a bit tenuous. But I literally could not care any less: this ad is so wonderful and simple and to the point that it got someone I love dearly but who thinks feminism isn’t necessary or important, to see its point of view and actually LIKE it. Hi five, Always. Hi five.

3.  First Moon party – Hello Flo

This one isn’t obviously about changing discourse, but it still has the same effect – because who’d have thought you could openly discuss periods on tv. And be funny! Think of it as the female version of the amusing Dollar Shave Club ad, except it’s generally more accepted to discuss on TV that men have to shave a face than the fact that women have to deal with a crampy, monthly mess. And not a jar of blue liquid in sight!  Nice one Hello Flo.

4. Princess Machine – GoldieBlox

Because girls don’t always want to be a princess in a tower. And spray painting everything pink for girls starts YOUNG. Hey, I’ll tell you what, Riley the (then) 4 year old explains it awesomely.

Phew. I’ll take these ads over ones that tell me I should have softer, smoother, more beautiful armpits. In fact, basically, Dove should just sack their ad team and take hints from these guys – they’re nailing it.

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