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Creative Review of Gender Equality Campaigns by Woon Hoh

From the #MeToo movement to the Fearless Girl campaign, and now with the ongoing Pride Month, topics of gender equality have been in the spotlight globally in the past year or two. As one of the most important aspect in communication is momentum, it’s natural that big brands are getting on board this trending topic to stay relevant and be part of what’s happening in our society.

TITLE: McDonald’s Flips Golden Arches for International Women’s Day 
AGENCY: We Are Unlimited, DDB Canada 
CLIENT: McDonald’s 


The best stories often come from true stories. It becomes relatable and more believable when it’s a real person with real life story, as is shown in this McDonald’s commercial. The biggest surprise comes from the end-twist where the store flipped its iconic golden arch, transforming it into the letter ‘W’ in support of women empowerment. It’s a grand idea that can live across many different media. Well done!

TITLE: Celebrating Airbnb’s global community of women hosts 
BRAND: Airbnb 

The fact that most Airbnb hosts are women, and how, throughout the years, women have been the driving force that helped this business grow, is a very good base on which to build a meaningful campaign for women’s day. This could have been the core of a major campaign, and not just an article or statistics on the web. To me, this is a missed opportunity.

TITLE: Age Doesn’t Define Me 
AGENCY: Grey Group Asia Pacific 

In terms of execution, this is nothing new. It’s a testimonial using a celebrity or public figure. However, the story is fairly interesting. There is some similarity with the McDonald’s campaign which tells stories about the hardships women have to go through to be successful. 

I understand it can be hard to get away from the typical beauty products-centered style of art direction, but I still believe this campaign would have been more impactful if executed as less of a standard studio-based beauty shoot, and a bit closer to reality.

TITLE: Never Before Barbie 
AGENCY: Clemenger BBDO Melbourne 
CLIENT: Mattel 

Another big idea. Strong and impactful because the creativity started from the core of the brand which is the product itself. There aren’t many brands that want to touch or innovate their product, since most of the time it means huge investment. In my opinion, this campaign is a big move for Barbie and it’s brilliant.

TITLE: How Long Can You Keep a Secret? 
AGENCY: TBWA\ Santiago Mangada Puno 
CLIENT: Bench 

In Asia, you rarely see brands putting LGBT as the core of their campaign message, so this is a pleasant surprise. It’s risk-taking and bold. This kind of approach might not work in every Asian country, but this particular case, from Philippines, has already raked up close to one million views on Youtube in the last two months, with over 26.000 likes and only 450 thumbs down. This is a definitely a successful campaign.

TITLE: Johnnie Walker Black Label The Jane Walker Edition 
AGENCY: Anomaly 
CLIENT: Johnnie Walker 

Many brands have shown their support for gender equality. But to go so far as to change the entire branding by creating a “Jane Walker” edition, deserves a round of applause. This is a big idea that is newsworthy, and will generate a lot of PR value for the brand.

TITLE: The Dance Video You Need to Watch Right Now 
AGENCY: NuWorks Interactive Labs 
CLIENT: Belo Essentials 

For me this campaign doesn’t tell a story about gender equality. The only part that comes close to that is in the use of talent that looks androgynous — but this only happens at the execution level.

TITLE: #VoteYes for Every Bachelor and Bachelorette 
AGENCY: Leo Burnett Melbourne 
CLIENT: Australian Marriage Equality 

The topic is on trend, but in terms of creativity and craft, the film is rather ordinary. It lacks surprise elements and twist.

TITLE: What is Talent? 
AGENCY: DDB Worldwide 
CLIENT: DDB Worldwide 

The idea that talent is genderless is good, but in my opinion, how they transform this idea into execution could be better. To me, the film is not interesting enough, and it looks more like an internal campaign from DDB rather than a promotional ad, so they might not take it too seriously.


About the Reviewer: 

The Chief Creative Officer at Hakuhodo Asia Pacific and ADFEST 2017 as jury president for Direct Lotus and Promo Lotus, Woon Hoh is originally from Malaysia and is currently based in Bangkok. Woon graduated from the Graphic Design School of Fine Arts in San Francisco in 1992, and has since led agencies including Darcy Beijing, Hakuhodo Indonesia, and Hakuhodo Asia Pacific in Bangkok.

This article was published in the adobo magazine Gender 2018 issue.

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