These Campaigns Want to See Women in the Driver’s Seat

We’ve come to expect slapstick comedy commercials from the Super Bowl, but during this year’s Big Game, brands instead took the opportunity to take a stand on serious, hot-topic issues, including gender equality.

Audi grabbed much of the spotlight with its “Daughter” commercial, which advocates for pay equality and prompted no shortage of discussion about the topic online. 

The Big Game wasn’t the first time Audi used its advertising to #DriveProgress. Last holiday season, Audi Spain and agency Proximity Barcelona released “The Doll That Chose to Drive,” an animated short film that blasts gender roles when a Barbie-esque doll passes up a princess carriage to take an Audi sports car out for a spin. Supported by the hashtag #LetsChangeTheGame, the campaign made a clear statement that “playing, like driving, shouldn’t be a matter of gender.”

It’s not clear whether Audi’s Big Game ad started the trend, but gender equality seems to be officially in style. In the week after the Big Game, a handful of additional brands and agencies have released spots that advocate for gender equality.

A few creatives from McCann New York recently launched The When Project, which aims to inspire young girls by telling the world “that a female U.S. president is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when.’” The project interviews young girls across New York City and asks them to share their thoughts on a female presidency.

GE also joined the gender conversation with a spot called, “What If Scientists Were Celebrities?” The ad imagines a world in which female scientists such as Millie Dresselhaus, the first woman to win the National Medal of Science in Engineering, were greeted with the kind of elation usually reserved for women like Beyoncé. The spot closes by touting the brand’s goal to employ 20,000 women in technical roles by 2020.

BBDO took the baton at last week’s Makers Conference with the debut of its new “Put Her on the Map” campaign. By naming more streets, monuments and landmarks after women, the campaign aims to send a message to little girls that there is nothing unusual about a woman achieving something outstanding.

BDO Worldwide president and CEO Andrew Robertson explained in an Adweek interview that “when successful women are not visible in the world, there is no precedent for female potential.” If admakers keep going this way, neither women nor their potential will be invisible for long.

Learn how adland is working toward greater gender equality here.