- BBDO New York launched "It's Time to Redefine," a public-awareness campaign created to change the definition of a woman as it currently appears in online dictionaries in honor of International Women's Day, a news release announced. The ad agency is using the hashtag #ItsTimetoRedefine to spread the word.
- The campaign includes a public service announcement and online petition asking people to shine a light on problematic definitions of the word "woman," which in some cases include terms like "servant," "mistress" and "prostitute." The effort also celebrates women's extensive contributions to society.
- A PSA video featuring the comedian Akilah Hughes encourages online dictionaries to remove degrading or disrespectful language and replace it with descriptions like "congresswoman" "surgeon" and "athlete" that promote positive images and are more illustrative of women's roles.
Words matter, and BBDO is hoping to start an important conversation with It's Time to Redefine, especially as the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements continue to bring issues around women's empowerment to the fore. This has impacted the world of advertising, with social media accounts like the anonymous @DietMadisonAvenue spotlighting alleged abuse and harassment in the workplace at ad agencies, which are sometimes viewed as being stuck in an outdated "Mad Men" model.
While plenty of brands make efforts to spotlight their gender inclusion efforts, It's Time to Redefine coming from BBDO New York, an ad agency, demonstrates how players across the marketing and advertising space are working to address the issue. It's one that's certainly top of mind for consumers, who increasingly expect marketers to break gender stereotypes in their campaigns, with 36% saying they liked brands more when their ads go against stereotypes and 25% reporting they would be more likely to purchase from those brands, per a Choozle survey.
The industry has been working to improve portrayals of women in advertising through more messages of empowerment, fewer highly sexualized images and more opportunities behind the scenes. Last month, Unilever pledged that half of its startup bets will go to female-led businesses by 2023. Alcoholic beverage giant Diageo also recently launched its own "Free the Bid" initiative urging agencies and content producers worldwide to include at least one female director in their creative bidding processes.