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International Women’s Day: the best brand campaigns that ‘#ChooseToChallenge’

This Thing of Ours is marking IWD with an animation that was created in collaboration with 90 female illustrators

International Women‘s Day is upon us, and brands all over the globe have been getting creative as they celebrate. Here, we round up some of the best creative responses to the ‘#ChooseToChallenge’ theme.

Each turn around the sun, International Women‘s Day offers up one day for the world to celebrate the contribution made by females.

The theme of this year‘s IWD is ‘#ChooseToChallenge‘. To mark the global celebrations, The Drum highlights the best campaigns doing just that.

Mars: #HereToBeHeard

Back at the end of January, Mars launched #HereToBeHeard, a global crowdsourcing campaign that aimed to elevate the voices of women from all intersections – including race, age, sexuality, religion and ability – to help shape a more inclusive business environment and create a world where all women can thrive.

The female empowerment campaign lead up to IWD, asking women across the globe: “what needs to change so more women can reach their full potential?” The responses will inform the concrete actions Mars will take – both within its value chain and in broader society – to close the gender opportunity gap.

Lego: Future Builders

This IWD, Lego is recreating its iconic 1981 ad, 40 years after it first ran. Designed to ‘encourage and champion today‘s young women‘ the campaign gives them the opportunity to insert themselves into the frame, creating their own personal version.

The campaign responds to research that found 73% of parents believe gender differences are driven more by societal expectations than biology.

Ikea: FiftyFifty

Women globally do three times more work in the home than men, and the pandemic has only intensified many household pain points.

To help couples open an honest and fun conversation about how to better balance their responsibilities at home, Ikea has released a free, digital card game.

United Nations: Women Global Call to Creatives

A single moment can spark a movement, collective actions can transform societies and laws, an invention can alter the course of history and creative expression can change attitudes.

This International Women‘s Day, as world leaders and activists, prepare for the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, the United Nations has put out a brief through Talenthouse, asking creative to visualized and capture what activism and actions for gender equality mean to you.

Interflora: The Equal Truth

Interflora is seizing IWD as a moment to highlight gender inequality. Taking on the ‘#ChooseToChallenge‘ theme, it is visualizing gender inequality statistics through bouquets.

To illustrate how just one-in-20 FTSE 100 chief execs is women, an ad shows 19 white roses, with a lone red situated among their petals. Similarly, to highlight how only 6.1% of current world leaders are women, it shows 6.1% of a bouquet as red roses while the rest are white.

LinkedIn: #WeCanDoIt

Marking its first-ever campaign for IWD, LinkedIn has brought together influencers and its community to share content that helps and supports women.

The campaign is devised in response to LinkedIn‘s data that shows Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted women‘s careers.

Showcasing the real-life stories of seven women from around the world, the film shares the doubts, fears and vulnerabilities they have felt during the pandemic.

Universal Production Music: 100% Her

After launching the initiative last year, Universal Production Music (UPM) has debuted the second installment of its 100% Her album series.

The project looks to tracks composed, mixed and mastered by women, to champion female composers and their contributions to the industry.

The project was done in collaboration with Shesaid.so, the global network of women and gender minorities in the music industry, alongside She Is The Music, a global nonprofit working to increase the number of women in music.

SheSays: Spam For Equality

SheSays UK has relaunched ‘Spam For Equality‘, a campaign asking chief execs (CEO) to promise they will review their paid parental leave policy in whatever way they can by the next International Women’s Day.

The campaign calls on employees to send an automated anonymous email to their CEO with a pre-written message from SheSays. Every time a person adds their CEO’s email to the website the message will be sent to them asking that they review their policy, asking them to sign the Equal Parents pledge.

North Face: Never Stop

To women who don‘t stop pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo, this IWD The North Face is using them to ‘Never Stop‘.

The brand anthem is voiced by musician Jess Glynne, featuring the voices of individuals and communities that are proud to be different. It highlights the work of human rights lawyer Stephanie Case, climber Ashima Shiraishi, members of the She Runs It Community and artist-activist Miramar Muhd.

This Thing of Ours: Choose to Challenge

This Thing of Ours is marking IWD with an animation that was created in collaboration with 90 female illustrators from around the world, created in line with this year’s theme, #ChooseToChallenge.

To kickstart the project, the studio put out a call for female illustrators on Instagram, receiving more than 600 responses from across the globe, narrowing it down to 90 based on their illustration style. It features a woman holding up her hand, the gesture which has been chosen as a symbol of support to the cause this year.

TikTok: #WeAreHere

Worldwide, just 21% of electronic music festival acts are women. Only one-in-103 orchestra trumpet players are women. As few as 2% of music producers are women.

And so this IWD, TikTok wants to raise the voices of women in music. Appearing across social and digital platforms, #wearehere film features Nina Nesbitt who wrote the soundtrack with International Women‘s Day in mind.

The Economist: Women Around The World

The Economist is celebrating the day with a dedicated hub, titled ‘Women around the world‘ where it will highlight some of its best coverage of the lives of women around the world.

Covering inspired stories to the political and economic inequalities that persist globally.

Channel 4: Championing Women's Voices

With the accompanying hashtag #ChampioningWomensVoices, this IWD, Channel 4 is paying homage to the powerful achievements of an array of inspiring women across its platforms.

On Monday 8 March the broadcaster is handing over its airwaves to the following selection of remarkable women in celebration of the important role they have played during the pandemic.

They will share their stories with Channel 4 viewers throughout the day’s schedule via special continuity announcements aired together with a bespoke Channel 4 indent.

BMO: Zero Barriers

FCB Canada has devised 'Zero Barriers' for BMO Financial Group, which tells the stories of women BIPOC entrepreneurs who have found success in spite of societal barriers, biases and discrimination. The work highlights BMO’s investment in zero barriers to inclusion in the financial system.

The stories celebrate the business owners’ strength and resilience while bringing awareness to the barriers that women of colour face in starting a business, from being undervalued to being underestimated.

UN Women Australia: She'll Be Right

To rally the country to get behind the UN’s goal of achieving equality for women globally by 2030, UN Women Australia has launched ‘When Will She Be Right?’, a campaign that focuses the spotlight on gender inequality in Australia.

Created by The Monkey the campaign hijacks the saying, “She’ll be right”, which is used to dismiss problems we think might be fixed in time, turning the motto into an important question of not only how, but also when.

EasyJet: Virtual Pilot School

As part of its Amy Johnson Initiative to encourage more girls to become airline pilots, EasyJet has devised a virtual pilot school.

Teachers, schools and parents can request a virtual visit from an easyJet pilot, who will join classrooms and assemblies via video link, providing young people across the UK with the opportunity to find out what the job of a pilot is really like and importantly, with many of the airline’s female pilots fronting the programme, to show them it’s a job for everyone.