Messages of girl empowerment are becoming increasingly popular with some of the largest brands. With a recent rise in feminist movements, many companies are most likely wondering if a female empowerment campaign could boost their sales. The decision to include some self-confidence and female empowerment messages in ads is not an easy one.
As a business owner or marketing manager, you must consider many factors: who is your primary target audience? Is there a risk of alienating a secondary target audience? How deep into women’s issues is your brand willing to go?
As with any communication on behalf of your brand, you want to keep in mind who makes up your target audience and the affinity that your audience will have with your message. For example, if your primary target audience is made up of men, obviously they will have little to no affinity with a feminist message. That is an extreme example of course, but it just goes to show that you really have to think about your target and how they will react to a particular idea. In contrast, if your main target audience is young women and you are marketing a personal care or cosmetic product; then raising a feminine empowerment issue in your advertising will most likely pay off.
Pantene, Always, and Dove are just three of the examples of brands that promote female empowerment. While these efforts are praised by many, others find them patronizing. The ads from Dove, Pantene, and Always portray storylines to promote self-confidence in women. However, these ads also offer a simplistic view of womanhood and its challenges while relying heavily on stereotypes. This message will not be well received if your primary or even secondary target audience does identify with it or rejects it. In the case of rejection, you run the risk of alienating a portion of your audience.
Once you have decided to use a message of girl empowerment in your ads, it is important to decide how simple or deep the message will be. In the case of the Dove’s real beauty campaign, the brand took a risk by including non-airbrushed images of “real women” and their imperfections. Wrinkles, grey hair, stretch marks, and the like were all visible in this campaign. The message, in this case, is simple enough to convey but with a very deep issue in women’s lives. Still, Dove played it safe by ensuring the women featured were attractive by most audience standards. In the case of Always’ “Like a girl campaign”, the issue featured was much more simplistic and attempted to turn re-position the phrase “like a girl” from meaning weak and awkward to mean strong and powerful. Again, think about your target market and what type of message will appeal to them most. At the end of the day, you are looking to connect with your target and to create a positive relationship between them and your brand.