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Dev Batra

The International Women’s Day is round the corner and continuing with the annual trend, a multitude of brands will honour women by launching digital campaigns around this year’s theme of ‘Break The Bias’. Till today, a reasonable section within the society perceives these to be token or lip-service campaigns that occur only once a year, I believe the criticism is rather unfair.

Across geographies, women have long battled misogyny and biases against their presence in the boardroom. We can’t negate the fact that due to many years of focussed, activism-based advertising; we have been able to help raise a generation of millennials and GenZ who are able to identify these biases, question them (rightfully so) and seek a fairer representation for women in all spheres of life and work. 

This year, we have observed brands following three kinds of approaches towards International Women’s Day.  

There are a very rare set of brands, for whom women’s day celebration or women-focussed content is a round-the-year event and goes beyond tactical intervention. They have a long-term commitment towards this area of focus. A fine example here is that of The Body Shop India. The brand has been running a weekly property called ‘Feminine and Fearless’ that throws spotlight on strong women who are breaking the mould in fields like sports, entertainment, public service etc along with initiating consistent conversations on issues around gender-based discrimination, misogyny, unfair social practices amongst others.

Some of the biggest brands are churning out video format content around women and acknowledging their contribution by direct or subtle product integration. It’s a known fact that compelling stories narrated in video formats do tend to get shared far and wide and allow brands to demonstrate their commitment towards this very important celebration. Subtle product integrations work better in such campaigns as the narrative gets more attention if it touches an emotional cord without being very sales-y

Even to this day, we are still seeing a plethora of brands doing lip service by working towards making a post around International Women’s Day 2022 with maybe an offer valid for that day or the week. Unfortunately, the focus from their end is still mostly towards acknowledging the day but not much beyond. I believe their focus is more around Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) and building revenues instead of just driving brand awareness. Hence, I see ideas and actions that probably will drive sales or consideration for their products. 

This year’s theme of ‘Break The Bias’ is quite relevant. The larger context is around how women are leading the change as we recover from two years of extended Covid-related lockdowns. Studies have revealed that the period of the pandemic-related lockdowns led to higher cases of domestic violence against women, more women losing jobs than men and also, as per some reports, women having to take care of household chores significantly more that their spouses / partners. 


India has already witnessed tremendous growth of women focused D2C brands in the last two years - and many of them could have been the flag bearers of such campaigns but alas- nothing much can be seen happening.

At the end of the day, the baton rests with the brands. They have the power to use their social presence and might to address these issues and promote a gender equal world where men need to acknowledge the bias and support women by sharing the load equitably on the personal and professional front. Today’s generation is extremely aware and receptive to the sensitivity of these social trends and both young women and men tend to strike a chord with brands that clearly demonstrate their progressive approach towards addressing issues that women face. Brands should leverage digital videos, social content, live events, cause promotions etc. to celebrate this occasion in a more ‘meaningful’ manner.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)