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Brands that did International Women’s Day right

Last Sunday was International Women’s Day (IWD) and this year more brands than ever have worked the day into their busy marketing calendars. But, IWD was not always this popular in the advertising world. 

The very first International Women’s Day took place in 1911. One million people held over 300 demonstrations across Europe to demand women be given the right to vote and protest against discrimination in the workplace. However, since the turn of the century, the day has been increasingly picked up by eager marketers wanting a slice of the action. 

It’s not always as simple as sharing positive, feel-good messages aimed at women. An IWD campaign must truly embody the values of the day or risk harsh criticism. Whilst some brands have really missed the mark over the years, others have excelled. Here are some of our favourite examples of brands that did International Women’s day right this year.

This year marks 100 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment that guaranteed all American women the right to vote. To celebrate, launched it’s new campaign, inviting everyone to discover their connection to the women who shaped history. 

The family-tree building service has opened up their archives for free, allowing people to trace any family members that might have been involved in the women’s rights movement back then. The campaign also includes lots of information for those who want to brush up on the history of fighting for women’s equality. 

You can trace your family’s lineage and connection to the women’s rights movement here. International Women's Day campaign


Known for their marketing prowess, it is no surprise to see Apple amongst our favourites. Their simple, but standout campaign featured photos of 17 powerful women who are changing the world #BehindTheMac. The video is set to ‘Flawless’ by Beyonce and includes excerpts from author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk entitled “We should all be feminists.” 

It includes Malala Yousafzai, the female education activist and youngest-ever Nobel laureate, US soccer players Megan Rapinoe and Shannon Boxx, singer-songwriter Lady Gaga and the founder of the #MeToo movement Tarana Burke. 

The campaign was a hit across social media, with the stars of the campaign sharing it to their own audience. If you haven’t seen it, check it out below 👇

Absolut Vodka

Absolut Vodka had already made waves this year with their ‘Drink Responsibly. #SexResponsibly,’ Valentine’s Day campaign. Their digital and billboard ads contained the message “buying someone a drink doesn’t buy you a yes.”

The Swedish brand received high praise for highlighting the right to consent in their advertising. For International Women’s Day, Absolut has continued with this campaign, by encouraging influencers to join the conversation using the hashtag #StillNotAYes. 

absolut #stillnotayes campaign

All of these campaigns have one thing in common… authenticity. 

Each brand has lead with a message much bigger than self-promotion. By giving women a platform or a voice, they’ve shown good intentions and involved themselves in the conversation. 

Any brand hoping to build International Women’s Day into their marketing strategy should take note, but Rome wasn’t built in a day! Advocating for gender equality all year round is the best way for a brand to do International Women’s Day.