Pushing the gender agenda.


Gender equality has gained traction over the last few decades, in no small part thanks to the sheer volume of campaigns on the topic. As brands look to reassure consumers that ‘what matters to you, matters to us’, their agencies have been tasked with delivering work that takes a stand while standing out. Some are great, some less so and some feel a wee bit token. Here’s my take on some of the more interesting ones.


While the gender equality issue is multifaceted, one of the more pressing issues is the gender pay gap. Research from the World Economic Forum shows that for every dollar a man earns, his female counterpart pockets 78 cents. As you can imagine, this has seen ad forums flooded with campaigns around ‘charging men or women differently for stuff’. And while it feels a bit ‘first thought-y’, there have been a couple of decent executions.

American Association of University Women launched Lady dollars – a Google Chrome Extension that converted all the prices on Amazon and Walmart into the equivalent of what a woman has to pay, based on their inferior salary. And Romana restaurant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, created the ‘Unfair Menu’, which charged men 30% more for anything on the menu. Closer to home, ANZ Australia released ‘Pocket Money’ - a 90-second video that shows girls and boys being paid differently to do the same household chores, then watching them ponder how unfair that is. Cute kids saying silly things… how can you go wrong?

Equal pay.jpg


It’s tough to accept, but also well founded that women have to work harder just to attain parity with men. Their road to success is both longer and tougher. To highlight this, the creative girls (and guys, no doubt) at Miami Ad School came up with ‘The Extra Mile’. Instead of completing the regular, lung-busting, 26 miles at the New York Marathon, women were challenged to run 27…to literally go the extra mile and take a stand.

Another execution of the same idea is this fun piece of outdoor, again created by Miami Ad School. It elicits an initial wry smile and nod of the head, as all ads of this kind should. But the longer I sat with it, the more I liked it. It’s a smart, tangible metaphor, the copy is spot on and the subtle link to ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ adds an extra layer of cleverness.



There’s also a job to do when it comes to gender stereotyping. And while the issue might not be as pressing as others, it’s a very real issue for women all around the world. ‘The doll that chose to drive’ from Audi features a rebellious doll in a toy store, who ventures over to the ‘boy side’ and takes a toy Audi for a spin. While the piece as a whole is quite captivating, what stands out is the subtle, beautiful stereotype-smashing moments dotted throughout, including football-playing ladies, a kick-flipping pony and a buff guy sipping on tea. It’s not perfect…and the Mum’s line at the end feels too obvious (“but they don’t go together, do they?”), but it’s an enjoyable watch all the same.

On the topic of stereotypes, I couldn’t help but giggle at this effort by Nike, called ‘Equality Signs’. In highlighting the fact that 95% of urban street signs featured men, the intentions were good. But by creating a ponytail for women to stick on these street signs, one can’t help but think they’ve simply used one stereotype to fix another.



Seen a great gender equality campaign that I’ve missed? There’s bound to be heaps. I'd love to hear about it and take a look. Flick me at note at matt@hunch.co.nz

PS. Yes, I left out ‘Fearless Girl’. Not because I don’t think it’s a cracker, more because it felt too easy. But it was a game-changer. So if you’re not familiar with it you should definitely check it out.

Matt Watts