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How brands celebrated International Women’s Day

This year too brands have come up with special campaigns. While one says bruises can also be about self-defence, another says age is no bar to learn new things. Another urges women to uncelebrate Women’s Day and only celebrate when the world is free of gender inequality

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The past few months have been a time of raised voices. Voices against inequality meted out to women, sexual harassment, patriarchy and against victim shaming. And voices that made the high and mighty come crashing down. These have been the months of ‘#MeToo’ and the ‘Time’s Up’ movements.

Everywhere women are speaking up and speaking out and brands are not blind to it. International Women’s Day has always been a day when brands have come up with communication specifically targeted at women and this year is no different.

This is how brands decided to celebrate or, in one case, ‘uncelebrate’ International Women’s Day.


Reebok’s Women’s Day campaign acts as both a vehicle for a strong message and as a mirror to the society we live in. The ‘Bruises can be good’ campaign takes forward the brand’s #FitToFight proposition. The ad film begins with a few people entering a dimly lit place with a glass display case placed in the centre. As the curious and slightly apprehensive people take their place, the lights go off, plunging the place into darkness. A woman is seen sitting inside the glass case with some visible bruises on her body. We hear people list the reasons they think are behind the bruises–everything from domestic violence to sexual abuse to self-harm. The story takes a twist when she stands up, takes a fighter’s stance and delivers a kick.

On one hand, the ad film highlights the violent times that we live in where every bruise reminds us of the brutality that women have to face and on the other hand it is a call for women to take their safety into their own hands and become #FitToFight.

The campaign has been conceptualised by Isobar.


In its latest digital film #ChangeForProgress, a part of the brand’s on-going change series, Biba tries to demolish the classic ‘why educate girls’ argument.

Created by Brandmovers India, the film shows a group of girls and boy sitting and having a chat. The boy bickers with his sister about their exams and the marks they both scored. This is when an elder of the family joins them. He asks the boy what his future plans are. When he expresses his interest to continue his education, the man asks him what he will do by studying so much when in the end he has to settle down and take care of his family. The ad film ends with a pointed question asked by the boy’s sister, “Odd laga na? Humien bhi lagta hai”. Some food for thought maybe!


Tanishq has been coming up with thought provoking communication centred around women for quite some time now. And they don’t disappoint this time either.

Their latest campaign, conceptualised by Lowe Lintas, tells the story of one such woman, who despite being a successful CEO decides to change direction in her life. We see the woman walking into college, looking uncertain, but still determined. She has her moments of doubt, when she looks at the teenagers around her, but she overcomes them in a jiffy and takes her place among them. She’s all set to learn film making and start a brand new phase of her life.


MTV has been churning out some witty communication lately and their newest ad film, for International Women’s Day, is funny take on the thinly veiled discrimination women have to face in the name of Women’s Day celebrations.

Starring the talented Rahul Subramanian, the ad film is a look at the predicament of a boss who isn’t able to decide what to gift his women employees for International Women’s Day. The film brings to fore the gender stereotypes people propagate even when celebrating women.


In their International Women’s Day video, Ola, through Sumukhi Suresh, urges women to not be taken for a ride. The brand takes downs the clichés surrounding Women’s Day marketing stunts and bats for equality and respect on all days.


Through their Women’s Day campaign, created by Leo-Burnett Orchard, Amante gives out the message, “When women support women, it makes for a happy Women’s Day”. Leveraging the fact that the brand employs over 65,000 women across the world, right from the time the lingerie is a scribble on a sheet to the time it’s handed over to the customer, there is a woman who spearheads the whole process, the brand tries to give out that message that it is a bra that is truly, made by the women and for the women.

Franklin Templeton:

Created by Mirum India, this campaign from Franklin Templeton smacks of patriarchy to begin with. The video starts with a woman slipping her pay check to her grandfather during breakfast. Her grandfather then asks her to return early from office as there is someone he would like her to meet. While the woman is sceptical, she comes back home to find that her grandfather has invited financial advisors to help her manage her money better. The video seeks to tell women about the importance of being financially independent and how it can be a stepping stone towards achieving their goals in life.

P.C Chandra Jewellers:

P.C Chandra Jewellers is calling for a boycott of Women’s Day celebrations. The video is a montage of women speaking about the hypocrisy of the society, which celebrates Women’s Day but also perpetuates gender biases in everyday life. The video urges women to ‘uncelebrate’ Women’s Day and only truly celebrate when the world is free of gender inequality.


Children learn what they see and bringing this thought to the forefront is Borosil’s new campaign created by Social Kinnect. The video shows a little girl getting ready to go to office, while a boy prepares breakfast for her. The short video speaks volumes about the importance of setting right examples for children and how by doing away with stereotypes, we can create a better future for everyone.


In their ad film for International Women’s Day, ixigo picks up the issue of how women still need permission to travel on their own. Though travel is an essential part of each one’s life, women in India have been subjected to various forms of taboo surrounding travel. Women have always had to hear phrases such as – Log kya Kahenge?’, ‘Shaadi ke baad Jaana!’, ‘Kya karogi jaake?’ etc. from people around them. This video is ixigo’s way of bringing to the forefront the reality of this situation. The video titled #RukJanaNahi aims to encourage women to leave behind all stigmas and travel without any apprehensions.

Project Nanhi Kali:

It is rather ironic that in the country where chess comes from, a board game where the Queen and not the King is the most powerful, women have to face the brunt of gender discrimination. In an attempt to shed light on how a society fails when it leaves its ‘Queens’ helpless and feeble, Project Nanhi Kali has partnered with WATConsult, to launch an innovative campaign titled, ‘Powerless Queen’.

To spread awareness about the long-neglected cause, a digital version of the Chess game has been created wherein, the first player’s ‘Queen’ is designed to be ‘powerless’ and does not move at all while the second player's ‘Queen’ has all her powers, thus making the first player realise how difficult it is to win a game with the ‘Powerless Queen’.

To support the campaign, Tania Sachdev, an Indian chess player who holds The Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE, also known as World Chess Federation) titles of The International Master and The Woman Grandmaster has also come on board. Through the video Sachdev highlights the apathy of the situation and asks people to take the ‘Powerless Queen Challenge’.   


One of the most ridiculous biases against women is that they are poor drivers. Taking on this ludicrous idea Hyundai has come up with a new campaign this International Women’s Day. In the video we can see a man waiting for a woman, as she comes out of her house to meet him, he opens the passenger side door for her. As he makes his way over to the driver’s side, we can see that woman has taken her seat there. The film ends with the message ‘It shouldn’t surprise us if more women take the driver’s seat’.

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