Some Brands Are Honoring International Women’s Day In Smarter Ways Than Others

Spotify, Nike, McDonald’s, Uber, and more use this day to make a connection between gender progress and their own logos.

Some Brands Are Honoring International Women’s Day In Smarter Ways Than Others

International Women’s Day is an annual reminder of the need to continue to push, advocate for, and promote gender equality. It’s also yet another day when brands try a wee bit harder to wedge themselves into popular culture with a variety of ads, stunts, gimmicks, and social media shenanigans. Some of these efforts are more heartfelt and genuine than others. We’ll let you decide which side of that fence brands are landing on this year.



[Photo: courtesy of McDonald’s]
This year the brand flipped the golden arches to make a W — y’get it?!?–across all its digital channels, and in front of one California location.

Nike “Until We All Win”

Launched during the Oscars, just days ahead of International Women’s Day, Nike uses Serena Williams to illustrate the parallels of vulnerability and determination between one of greatest athletes of all-time, and the everyday women pushing their own limits around the world.

Spotify/Smirnoff “Smirnoff Equalizer”

The streaming service today launched an app extension that shows the gender breakdown of the artists you listen to on the platform, and generates an “equalized” playlist with a more balanced gender breakdown for people with listening habits that are male-dominated.

Brawny “#StrengthHasNoGender”

In what has become an annual effort, the paper towel brand this week switched out its lumberjack mascot in favor of strong women who are equally deserving of the Brawny superlative.

Birchbox “#BringForthYourWorth”

The beauty subscription service is celebrating by debuting a new film by director Valerie Shenkman, a Glamour #NewViewfilm winner, that asks a collection of women and girls what confidence means to them.


Uber “#DrivenWomen Take The Wheel”

The ride-sharing brand has its fair share of issues when it comes to gender, but here it tells the real stories of female drivers who challenge sexist stereotypes. The film launched across Uber channels in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan on March 6.

Johnnie Walker “Jane Walker”

[Photo: courtesy of Johnnie Walker]
To mark Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, the whisky brand swapped its “striding man” logo with a “striding woman” on a limited edition bottle. The brand is donating $1 for every bottle of the Jane Walker Edition to women’s organizations, with a total donation of up to $250,000, including a donation of $150,000 to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund, and its Monumental Women campaign. That’s all well and good, but this one just seemed a wee bit condescending. Just ask Stephen Colbert.

Twitter “#HereWeAre”

Debuted ahead of the Oscars, the spot features poet Denice Frohman reciting her own work as images of a diverse group of women flash across the screen, including Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, and other filmmakers and artists. Of course, it also drew immediate criticism and calls of hypocrisy, not for the message but the messenger, as Twitter remains one of the more toxic social media environs for women.

JWT/Period Equity “Abolish The Pink Tax”

[Photo: courtesy of JWT]
Ad agency JWT teamed with Period Equity, a group dedicated to fighting the 36 U.S. states that still collect sales tax on tampons and pads. The group says that by failing to classify menstrual products as a necessity and denying them an exemption from sales tax, these states have effectively deemed periods a luxury. This is a follow up to the agency’s spot from September, starring Amber Rose.

About the author

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