Last year, Brawny launched its “Strength Has No Gender” campaign on International Women’s Day with a series of videos that told the stories of women who have succeeded in professions that are traditionally dominated by males.
The Georgia-Pacific brand has brought back the campaign again this year, this time not just for International Women's Day but for the whole of Women's History Month. Aside from four videos that feature women in STEM fields who have broken barriers – for example, one highlights the accomplishments of the first African-American female combat pilot in the US armed forces – the brand also has replaced its iconic “Brawny Man” with a woman on packaging for the month of March.
In light of January’s global Women’s March and the “A Day Without a Woman” protests taking place on International Women’s Day this year, the brand’s message of “Strength Has No Gender” has the potential to be even more impactful this time around now that women’s rights are at the center of today’s political discourse.
According to Laura Knebusch, vice president of marketing activation at Georgia-Pacific, last year’s “Strength Has No Gender” campaign received “a tremendous amount of positive feedback and engagement,” which is why the brand wanted to make this year’s effort even bigger.
“We got a great response out of that campaign last year,” she said. “Pretty much when that ended last year we started thinking about this year, so we’ve had this in planning for months because we felt like it was such a powerful and authentic statement that we could make as the Brawny brand. But we did see the opportunity to make it even bigger this year so we could reach more women and create even more of an impact with what we’re doing.”
In addition to the video series and packaging, Brawny has also created an online video titled “Breaking Barriers” that pays homage to notable women including Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart and Serena Williams. The brand is also donating $75,000 to Girls Inc. to help the organization develop girls’ enthusiasm for STEM fields via its Operation SMART program.
Highlighting women who work in STEM is something that Knebusch said that Brawny will continue to focus on down the line.
“We’ll continue to recognize everyday women who’ve been very successful in their fields, but focus even more on STEM, just because we want to continue to raise awareness of the accomplishments of women in those fields,” she said. “We see women underrepresented in STEM fields not only in actuality but especially in media and content, so it [is] a great opportunity to raise awareness.”
The brand’s “Strength Has No Gender” initiative falls under Brawny’s “Stay Giant” tagline, which it introduced in late 2015 with help from agency Cutwater. According to Knebusch, “Stay Giant” positions Brawny as a brand that celebrates the toughness and resilience in everyday people and recognizes them for how they’re overcoming life’s challenges.
Since launching the new positioning, Knebusch said that the brand has seen positive growth on a number of key metrics, from dollar share to brand health.
“We’ve seen positive momentum and we’ve seen consumers really engaging with that message and the brand purpose behind that message,” she said.
Since the launch of the second iteration of “Strength Has No Gender” earlier this month, Krebusch said that the brand has already seen positive sentiment in the first few days of the campaign. Moving forward, she said that the paper towel brand will continue “to tell stories of strength and resilience throughout the year” but will likely bring back “Strength Has No Gender” for a third time next year.
“We see so much power and engagement with this message with our consumer, so we’re already thinking about next year and ‘how do we make this even more powerful and more impactful?’ So we’ll evaluate everything when we’re done, but I would say we’re already thinking about next year. I would expect to see it again,” she said.