By Jessica Chen
While female empowerment campaigns are not an entirely new concept, 2014 in particular saw a huge spike in brands utilizing this idea of "femvertising" in their marketing campaigns. Every company from Nike to Sears is jumping on this hot trend, attempting (with varying degrees of success) to inspire and appeal to female consumers through empowerment.
So many brands have developed campaigns or launched initiatives in 2014 geared toward celebrating women and girls. While these campaigns are by no means perfect, each one plays a huge role in challenging gender norms and raising awareness about inequality.
Here are the three best female empowerment campaigns of 2014.
1. Ban Bossy, LeanIn.Org & Girl Scouts of America
This Sheryl Sandberg-inspired campaign, sponsored by her nonprofit LeanIn.org, as well as Girl Scouts of America, kicked off 2014 with a bang. The campaign addressed a stigma many girls face: being called bossy (or worse!) when trying to voice an opinion. "Ban Bossy" was not only backed by some of the most impressive influencers today (Beyoncé, Mark Zuckerberg, and even Michelle Obama), it also inspired powerful partnerships with brands such as Lifetime Television and Getty Images, with both companies creating related promotional support.
2. #LikeAGirl, Always One of the biggest campaigns of the year exploded onto the scene with a viral video launched by Always. This video focused on dissecting the negative connotations behind the phrase "like a girl" and asked: "When did doing something 'like a girl' become an insult?" Highlighting puberty as the main life-stage in which most girls experience a drop in confidence, the campaign inspired countless women to reexamine their own idea of self-worth.
3. Not Sorry, Pantene Pantene's "Not Sorry" campaign focused on the global phenomenon of women apologizing, specifically in the workplace and at home. The video caused women to evaluate their own lives and how they can decrease the amount of unnecessary apologies, and be more intentional in their behaviors. Most notably, Pantene backed the video with the Shine Strong Fund, which strives to give women the education and ability to overcome expectations from society. This is a strong example of a digital campaign coupled with a global initiative that seeks to actually give women the tools needed to create change.
So what do these campaigns mean for the brands? For some, it means higher sales. For others with more followers on social media, it has caused an increase in brand awareness. One thing is for sure: We can expect to see plenty of similar campaigns heading into 2015; femvertising is still on the rise.
Tell us: What other brands have launched successful female empowerment campaigns?