3 brand campaigns you’ll wish you came up with – IWD edition

Friday 8th March marked International Women’s Day (IWD) 2019. Across the globe, people found all kinds of cool ways to celebrate and empower women, and take action for equality. Brands were no exception.

Here are three IWD campaigns we just had to tell you about.


Benefit Cosmetics

When it comes to showing support for causes or movements, authenticity is everything.

If you’re going to name-drop something like IWD, you’ve seriously got to take part in a meaningful way. Doing so always involves effort and usually involves expense too.

In Benefit’s case however, it wasn’t so much about money spent but money lost.

The cosmetics company made everyone sit up and listen when it shut down its websites worldwide for IWD. Wait, that deserves its own line…

Shut. Down. Its. Websites. Worldwide.

If you were in the mood for a make-up spree on 8th March, you were straight out of luck. Instead of the usual mascaras, contour kits and lip glosses, website visitors were greeted with this:

Photo: Benefit

As per the message, makeup was replaced with resources. The homepage featured an “International Women’s Day to-do list” complete with 10 things you could do right now to “smash the patriarchy”.

The list was full of activity suggestions, including things like:

  • Volunteering or donating to a charity
  • Advocating for the under-represented in your office
  • Joining or building a network of inspiring, badass women
  • Beating imposter syndrome
  • Asking for the raise you deserve

Links were also included to offer more guidance.

This is a power move from Benefit.

It’s basically impossible for anyone to question the authenticity of a brand willing to lose out on a day’s global revenue (and potentially annoy customers having a make-up emergency) to support IWD.

Hats off.


United Airlines

If you thought the Benefit campaign was high impact, prepare to go higher.

For its IWD/Women’s History Month campaign, United Airlines are offering two artists the chance to design and paint for the brand.

“Ah, that’s nice” you’re probably thinking. “I wonder if they’ll put the artwork up in airports or something.”

Well, not quite.

Each winning artist will in fact work with a canvas much bigger than most: an actual Boeing 757.

Good luck finding an easel for that.

Photo: United Airlines

Anyway, called #HerArtHere, the campaign aims to “put women’s art in the sky, for the whole country to look up to”.

It’s a response to the fact that less than 13% of art in museums is by female artists, despite 51% of today’s artists being women.

Six finalists will receive an open gallery show, 100,000 United MileagePlus® award miles, and have their art displayed on social media and in other locations/lounges.

The public will then vote for two finalists, who will collaborate with renowned artist Shantell Martin to finalise their designs. They’ll also receive $10,000 cash.

Just like with Benefit, we’re impressed by the extent United Airlines has gone to for a cause other than money making.

Clearly, most brands won’t have a plane to paint even if they wanted to – but that’s not the point. This is about going out of your way to do something cool (and non-commercial) that will instantly convey what your company genuinely cares about.



If you thought painted planes were high impact, prepare to… no I’m kidding.

This third IWD campaign definitely has less wow factor than the first two, but it’s just as impressive in terms of authenticity.

Firebox is an online retailer selling novelty gifts. Think cushions covers with your face on and giant gin glasses.

The brand’s team includes plenty of awesome, talented ladies – and what better time to shout about them than International Women’s Day?

Instagram followers were directed from the bio link to a landing page featuring interviews with the employees, who each shared advice and talked about the best/worst parts of the job.

The interviews were fairly light-hearted but, if you ask me, could have been way more entertaining to match the brand better. Although there was a brief conversation about giant moths, so that’s something.

What’s nice about this though is how simple it is; anyone could do the same thing. But the reality is, few do.

It’s quite touching to see a company showing appreciation for its staff publicly – especially on a day dedicated to empowerment.

It’s also a nice way for fans to get to know the brand on a more personal level, and find out more about its values – something that numerous studies have shown is an increasingly important buying factor.

It would have been a nice touch to include other staff members’ opinions (positive only!) on each interviewee too. It’s always a bit awkward to toot your own horn. But all in all, we liked this campaign a lot.

On a complete side note, we also really like Firebox’s Mother’s Day banner copy, which reads:

It’s counterintuitive and fits the value proposition perfectly.