How Agencies Are Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month

From Huge, Anomaly, Cogs & Marvel, Ogilvy and more

Agencies including Anomaly, Saatchi Art and JWT celebrate International Women's Day in unique ways.
From left and clockwise: Anomaly, Cogs & Marvel, Saatchi Art and JWT

Even in 2019, women are far too rare of finds in the advertising industry—even more so in C-suite level positions.

To encourage the advancement of women in the industry and celebrate their own illustrious female leaders and creatives, agencies across the U.S. are either partnering with their clients or acting on their own to create unique campaigns and projects around International Women’s Day on Friday.

Here’s how agencies are celebrating women today—and throughout Women’s History Month.

Huge unveils first smart tampon dispenser at SXSW

At SXSW on Friday, Huge unveiled what probably should have been invented years ago: the smart tampon dispenser. Called the “Hooha,” the dispenser currently resides in the Female Quotient’s FQ Lounge at SXSW and requires just a simple text to release a tampon—eliminating the archaic coin-operated mechanism.

“We’re so excited to be unveiling Hooha at SXSW on International Women’s Day, where we can rectify the decades-old tampon dispenser problem—and, at the same time, communicate the need for more women in tech,” said Steph Loffredo, senior social marketing manager at Huge.

Ogilvy’s “I Wanna Discuss”

Ogilvy is turning the IWD acronym on its head, transforming it into “I Wanna Discuss” to start a conversation about what both women and men think the industry should look like. The campaign is two-fold: a social media campaign encouraging employees to voice their opinions and a series of events spanning 20 markets and including panels, focus groups and mentoring sessions.

The satirical “That Lady Thing” activation returns

The tongue-in-cheek gender equality-focused experiential art installation that debuted in San Francisco last year returned to the city’s Phoenix Hotel on Friday with a fresh lineup of female-friendly activations and artists. From creative director Jamie Shaw and female-owned San Francisco and Dublin-based agency Cogs & Marvel, the event runs through March 10 and includes a scratch-and-sniff wallpaper that smells of toxic masculinity, “the shame booth” where women record stigmas that plague them, the “Pink Tax” gameshow and a fictitious ice cream parlor where the flavor of the day is wage discrimination.

R/GA celebrates Barbie’s 60th birthday

Barbie turns 60 this year, so the brand and R/GA are spotlighting women who have “shattered the plastic ceiling” in a social and experiential campaign called “Last Generation of Firsts.” The campaign includes a multi-platform AR experience on Facebook and Snapchat that allows people to see themselves as a plastic-ceiling-shattering Barbie with Camera IQ. It kicks off on March 8, the day before the very first doll in the franchise was created in 1959. On Saturday (Barbie’s actual birthday), the brand will also host a 60th anniversary pop-up shop in New York where fans can literally step into an oversized doll box of their choosing.

Publicis New York and S&P Global’s “Change Pays” installation hangs in the World Trade Center

S&P Global and agency Publicis New York are displaying a “Change Pays” installation today through March 13. Global currencies and bank notes featuring female portraits create a typographical illusion when hung 17 feet above the ground from the ribs of the World Trade Center Oculus, highlighting the positive effects of having greater female representation in finance. The installation also includes an accompanying AR experience.

Burns Group and Catalyst use Slack to diminish harmful gendered stereotypes

Burns Group and nonprofit Catalyst launched the first #BiasCorrect plug-in for Slack that tags unconscious bias in real-time conversations happening on the platform. The tool, built by tech company Eskalera, identified 25 stereotypical words sometimes used to describe women and replaced them with suggested, unbiased words (“assertive” instead of “aggressive” and “passionate” instead of “emotional,” for example). The campaign includes social, OOH and digital components featuring prominent women like Hillary Clinton and Gale King—and the harmful ways in which they have been described and misrepresented in the past.

JWT Amsterdam wants you to check your gendered language

J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam has deployed “the unbias button” to bring gender-neutral language to the forefront of online conversations. Watch below to learn more.

UN Women enlists several agencies to leverage female voices

JWT and the larger WPP organization are giving voice to the unheard stories of incredible women fighting for human rights for the UN Women campaign “the Unheard Project.” Today, the campaign will share stories across social platforms through more than $1.5 million pro bono media donations and a billboard takeover in New York’s Times Square.

Video marketplace Unruly has donated 50,000 views across its U.S. network to “Unheard Women.”

Also in partnership with UN Women, Havas Group is branding media sites in visible, high-traffic locations across the world with the “impossible to ignore” theme celebrating female scientists, engineers, designers and inventors. By securing print, online and OOH media placements in key locations like Times Square and and Westfield London, and with partnerships with Facebook, the NASDAQ, the Economist and more, Havas and UN Women hope to accomplish a goal of reaching 2 million impressions in just one day. Featured women include ethical ad platform Good Loop founder Amy Williams, singer-songwriter Beatie Wolfe and Dr. Christyl Johnson, the first African-American deputy director NASA ever hired.

Havas honors its own female executives with mimosa brunch

As the mimosa flower is a symbol for women’s empowerment and independence, all female executive leaders in the Havas network were treated to a mimosa brunch on Friday. Additionally, on Monday, Havas will launch its “Read About Her” campaign, in which it will distribute various print and online content promoting women to its network of employees through the month of March.

GSD&M turns first female pilot into superhero for U.S. Air Force

Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 1, GSD&M released a superhero-style film starring the first female fighter pilot, Brig Gen Jeannie Leavitt, for longtime client the U.S. Air Force. The film, “Origin Story,” details how Leavitt, currently commander of Air Force Recruiting Service, rose from cadet to fighter pilot to “warfighter.”

Wunderman U.K. encourages employees to shop with female-run businesses

Beginning on Friday, Wunderman U.K. will be running a week-long initiative, “Fund Female,” to encourage its employees to consciously and exclusively support female-owned businesses. Wunderman created a #BalanceforBetter campaign microsite mapping out where employees can find these businesses in relation to their offices in Mornington Crescent.

“While we talk about equal representation, to date, very little has been [said] about joining up support for female entrepreneurs with our spending habits,” said Wunderman U.K. CEO Pip Hulbert. “Only 27 percent of U.K. business owners are women. We hope that by supporting them with our custom, it will help this number grow.”

Anomaly celebrates world champion boxer in third annual ‘Unreasonable Women’ campaign

Anomaly is highlighting undefeated seven-time former world champion boxer Michele Aboro from her journey from London to Shanghai. Directed and shot by Dalton Lai and drawing talent from Unreasonable Studios’ seven locations, the film illustrates how Aboro first learned how to box at a time women were barred from the sport, eventually becoming a world champion while overcoming challenges like breast cancer.

Colle McVoy rallies around #BalanceForBetter theme

Throughout all of March, Colle McVoy will promote the #BalanceForBetter theme by taking over all digital screens in the agency with images of renowned female employees and their respective inspirational quotes. It will also hang a large blank canvas in its office for employees to leave quotes, stories, signatures or affirmations in support of the #WomenOfCM, and it will place billboards in the women’s bathrooms that display user-generated messages of encouragement and appreciation for one another.

Brownstein Group hosts panel session for its employees

Today, Brownstein Group’s female leaders will conduct a panel session open to all employees. Over drinks and snacks, employees can discuss their career paths and other gender-related topics. Brownstein touts a workforce that is 72 percent female.

GSD&M wants people to know that Alzheimer’s is largely a woman’s disease

Many are unaware that Alzheimer’s largely affects women: Two thirds of people living with the disease are women, and women over the age of 60 are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as they are breast cancer. That’s why GSD&M, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM) launched an integrated “AlzheimHER’s” campaign that details the formation and promotion of a nationwide chorus of people with dementia. With a PSA starring the chorus, a Facebook Stories component and a karaoke experience, the organization wants the campaign to reach a younger audience, as Alzheimer’s isn’t just an “old person’s issue” but a disease that can affect people of all ages.

Barbarian launches group committed to a gender-balanced workforce

Barbarian launched the Gender Equality Group Foundation that includes a mentorship program, a career-planning process and a commitment to keep its gender split 50/50. To spread awareness to gendered language, the agency is using Slack’s auto response to call out any employee that says “hey guys.” Its International Women’s Day happy hour will feature a “bartender tip box” where people can donate money to Time’s Up Advertising. It’s also serving up four custom female-inspired drinks: the Cathy Butler, the Ruth Bader Gimlet and the Michelle Obamartini.

Saatchi Art women ‘Refuse to be the Muse’

Saatchi Art has launched a month-long campaign, “Refuse to be the Muse,” spotlighting its best-selling female artists who serve as their own inspiration. To kick off the campaign, Saatchi Art released the below video featuring conversations with chief curator Rebecca Wilson as well as seven of Saatchi Art’s female artists on the evolution of women’s roles in the traditional art world.

Y Media Labs inspires agency with a poem from one of its female designers

Y Media Labs’s UX/UI designer Sadhvi Konchada will hold a reading of her poem, “Empower Her,” to the agency’s 250-person staff. The poem will then be commemorated along the agency’s walls in its Silicon Valley headquarters and will serve as its manifesto for gender parity.

Fancy makes passionate posters for client Lion’s Den

Female-owned creative agency Fancy released its annual vintage-style International Women’s Day posters for client Lion’s Den—the “official” store for “pleasure, passion and romance”—to be distributed throughout its retail stores.

Critical Mass helps put an end to sexist language

Critical Mass’ Calgary office is attempting to eliminate commonplace sexist language with its #ChoiceWords campaign, reminding the world that statements like “you’re smart for a girl” are unacceptable (how about just “you’re smart”?). It will also fix one of its office windows into a storefront, where passersby can “shop” for #ChoiceWords through QR codes. The agency will directly donate every dollar raised to UN Women.

Nissan enlists TBWA\Chiat\Day to help it build a ‘Circle of Women’

TBWA\Chiat\Day New York has expanded its “Circle of Women” initiative—launched last year on International’s Women’s Day to create a pipeline for increasing and promoting female leaders within the agency—to Nissan North America. The agency will help the brand build its own “Circle of Women,” which will feature cross-organizational networking and development events.

Essence’s female employees share their thoughts on change in the industry

Women across Essence’s New York and San Francisco offices shared their thoughts on how the industry is evolving in the below video called “Women are Essential.”

Orcí sheds light on gender wage gap

Multicultural agency Orcí created a video raising awareness to the gender wage gap that still exists today. In addition, the agency shared a series of social posts highlighting the contributions of its female employees using the #OrciWomen hashtag.

Deutsch LA turned off the lights early

Deutsch LA closed its office early and sent all its employees to the movies on International Women’s Day, reserving a nearby theater for Captain Marvel, which stars Brie Larson as the first female Avenger.


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