The Fearless Girl Of Wall St., Nike Gets Tough With Russia: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Mercedes wants to grow up, Microsoft wants to change the odds for girls in STEM, and Benetton just wants a fair 50/50.

The Fearless Girl Of Wall St., Nike Gets Tough With Russia: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

The big news this week was, of course, the new Deadpool promo that ran before Logan . . . no? C’mon. International Women’s Day! Not only a great opportunity for healthy discussion, debate, and raised awareness around a cornucopia of gender issues, but also for brands to creatively tell people they actually give a sh*t about these issues. How did they do? Let’s discuss. Onward!


State Street Global Advisors “The Fearless Girl”

What: A striking reminder of Wall Street’s gender gap
Who: State Street Global Advisors, McCann New York
Why We Care: As we pointed out in the first edition of After These Messages newsletter (sign up here!), this was earned media GOLD for International Women’s Day (NPR, The New York Times, NBC, CNN… EVERYWHERE) accomplishing any great piece of art or advertising aims to–spark emotion, debate, and become part of the broader cultural conversation. Get ready to see more of this one once ad industry awards season gets underway.

Nike “What Are Girls Made Of?”

What: Russian Nike ad adds a modern twist to one of that country’s most recognizable and loved children’s songs.
Who: Nike, Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam
Why We Care: Part of a trio of films aimed at three different markets–Russia, Turkey, the Middle East–with a common theme of breaking through cultural norms. I liked this one’s juxtaposition between the lyrics of “flowers”, “gossip” and “marmalade,” with the athlete’s toughness, determination, and strength. It’s also just another tune in the brand’s growing playlist of ads celebrating a more equal view of women in sport and society.

Mercedes “Grow Up: Be A Good Parent”

What: The best in a bunch of spots in an unexpectedly moody campaign from Mercedes-Benz, that looks more at the meaning of life than the trappings of a luxury car.
Who: Mercedes-Benz, Antoni GmbH
Why We Care: The ad featuring A$AP Rocky will probably get most of the headlines, and perhaps rightly so. But in terms of unexpected emotion and good storytelling, for our money the best of this bunch is this one, featuring a buttoned-down older Dad getting a peek inside the head of his son. Sure, it’s still just a car ad, but by stylishly tying in such strong emotions–parenthood, meaning, aspiration–it’s a damn good one.

Benetton “#UnitedByHalf”

What: New Benetton spot that shows a variety of women depicted in powerful positions, just asking for their fair share.
Who: Benetton, Creativeland Asia
Why We Care: Much like the Nike work, it’s cool to see women from other cultures represented and celebrated in such a creative way, that also makes a strong statement for equality and empowerment.

Microsoft “#MakeWhatsNext Change The Odds”

What: The newest ad in Microsoft’s ongoing #MakeWhatsNext campaign, uses a disappointing statistic to help encourage girls to continue their studies in STEM.
Who: Microsoft, M:United/McCann
Why We Care: In the third year of this campaign, to help mark International Women’s Day, Microsoft asks young girls about the kind of problems they’re passionate about solving, and their answers are pretty amazing. But despite wanting to solve climate change and cure cancer, the harsh reality is only 6.7% of American women (and 16% globally) graduate with STEM degrees. And without those science, tech, engineering, and math skills, these problems won’t be solved. The most encouraging thing, much like last year’s video that challenged young girls to name a female inventor, it ends on a hells-yeah high note that leaves you confident these girls are stoked to stay in STEM.


About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.