Can an Ad Campaign for Women’s Rights Succeed by Only Featuring Men?

UN Women's new perspective

Women earn 30 percent less than men for the same work. Some 64 percent of the world's illiterate people are women. Almost 800 women die every day from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

These are just some of the mind-boggling global injustices cited by UN Women on a new website,, intended to motivate men to act against gender inequality and violence toward women. Created by Publicis Dallas, the campaign asks men to upload YouTube clips of themselves speaking out in support of women. For further inspiration, it includes a simple but powerful video of well-known men—including activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Matt Damon and Patrick Stewart—sharing their perspectives.

It's not a risk-free approach for UN Women, which had a global hit last year with its Google autocomplete campaign by Ogilvy Dubai. Some might think that focusing on men somehow implies their opinions are of greater value. But Publicis says the unusual strategy is the campaign's strength.

"He For She is a unique women's rights campaign in the simple fact that we don't approach the problem from a female perspective, and that's what makes it so powerful," Brad Roseberry, the agency's chief creative officer, said in a statement.

The cause is made all the more pressing by the fact that it's gone underaddressed for so long. (The ad industry, of course, has plenty to do in fixing its own deeply ingrained gender inequalities.) As the new campaign so clearly expresses, the power to solve it often remains concentrated in the hands of men.

Credits below.


Client: UN Women

Agency: Publicis Dallas

Executive Creative Director: Brad Roseberry

Creative Director: Natalie Lavery

Copywriter: Jacob Latchem

Art Directors: Alex Pierce, Joshua Tovar

Producers: Lori Wallace, Desiree Townsend

Web Developers: Alex Pierce, Eric Taylor, Dennis Covington, Jason Awbry

Designers: Alex Pierce, Joshua Tovar

Account Directors: Susan Scott, Whitney Sprague

Editing Company: Republic Edit

Editor: Andy McGee

Producer: Jacklyn Sandoval Roman

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@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.