Marketing to Women Done Right

August 7, 2014 | by BatesMeron

The team at BatesMeron was recently inspired by a powerful, motivational and breathtaking Under Armour advertisement. However, the visually stunning 60-second spot isn’t like many other Under Armour ads. This ad focuses on a ballerina.

Shifting from its usual football-clad, male-athlete-starring commercials, Under Armour is currently trying to rebrand itself as gear that empowers athletic women. This new direction steers away from famous faces and the notion that being considered an “athlete” is defined by the sport you play. From dance to the soccer field to the treadmill at the gym, being an athlete isn’t determined by the sport or skill, but instead the strength, endurance and willpower within ourselves.

No matter who you are or what you do, we can all agree that the new Under Armour campaign, “I Will What I Want,” is a beautiful reminder to persevere through rejection and rally against defeat. And we can all agree (again) that more uplifting, confidence-boosting, kick-you-into-action messaging needs to be taking place…especially in the female department.

To carry on with our uplifting, women-empowerment vibe, BatesMeron put together a list of our favorite advertisements that market to women the right way. These are ads that we love, messages that have inspired us and creative thinking that went against the grain to say something honest and impactful.


“I love the messaging for GoldieBox because it encourages young girls to explore their potential as innovators and inventors. Hopefully, the success of the GoldieBlox brand will also inspire other brands to stop reinforcing the dainty/princess-y stereotype of girls in advertising and to rethink the way they promote similar construction/problem-solving toys as well.” – Paul Zdon


Always: #LikeAGirl

“This spot stopped me in my tracks and forced me to rethink the things I say off-hand. It also reminded me how the worlds I choose can easily diminish my friends, family and co-workers—or how my words can build them up! This ‘Like a Girl’ ad is very powerful, like hot, liquid magma, and I think it has a compelling message for both women and men.”
– Melissa Leonard
“Doing something ‘like a girl’ shouldn’t be an insult, it should be the highest of compliments. Being a girl means being powerful, athletic, curious, intelligent and much, much more. As girls grow into women, their bodies transform into a refined machine, ones that can grow and nourish tiny humans, as well as lead corporations and countries, win Olympic events and change the world. When I was a young tomboy, my favorite T-shirt read: ‘It was pigtails and lollipops and then you woke up;’ my politically correct dolls had flat feet, a modest bust and wore power suits; and Mia Hamm posters adorned my walls. I was raised in a world where girls can do anything, and being one was the greatest gift of all. When I hit puberty and first began collecting unwanted attention because of my gender, it was startling and saddening. And though there are a number of flaws with the menstruation advertising industry, I wish this ad had been around when I needed it most.” – Rachel Skybetter


Riot Grrl Movement


Excuse Me

“While I was attending college in the 1990s, the Riot Grrrl movement came crashing through the music scene and absolutely blew me away. Flyers and ads were plastered everywhere to promote female empowerment. I can remember going to Bikini Kill shows where the rule was all of the guys would have to stand in the back letting women see a band without being pushed around by men. There were ‘Free To Fight’ clinics to teach self defense to women—and other groups to help women feel like they were important and powerful. This was not corporate crap, it was a true grassroots movement.” – Fred Schaaf 


Nike: Endless Possibilites

“Male or female, the only difference between professional athletes and everyday athletes is drive. This ad works because it pushes you to do more.” – Kris Bates


Pantene: Not Sorry

“One of my faults in life has always been over-apologizing, and when I found this ‘Not Sorry’ ad by Pantene, it really shed light on how demeaning the act of saying sorry can be to our dignity. I find myself using it as a filler or safety net to always come off as a nice person/woman, but I absolutely love how this campaign reveals how unnecessary apologizing is, and that we as women, don’t always need to excuse ourselves every time we have something to say.” – Jordan Worcester
“As a woman, I’ve caught myself apologizing too much. In fact, my husband has pointed out that I needn’t apologize for things on multiple occasions. It’s great that someone’s brought that to light. This ad is a nice reminder to women that we don’t need to do that so often—and what is it that we’re feeling so guilty about? Asking that will address a bigger issue that we obviously need to work on within ourselves. The other thing I love about this message is that it doesn’t vilify men in any way. A lot of the female empowerment can point a finger to a certain group that may be oppressing females. It’s important to note that sometimes, we do it to ourselves.” – Becka Bates



Lego Ad

“I love this vintage LEGO print ad because of its focus on creation, not stereotypes. It’s not an advertisement about boys or girls, it’s about making something beautiful. I feel like so many ads often separate boys from girls. Pink or blue. Pretty tutus or dirty shoes. Why are we putting boys and girls into cookie-cutter stereotypes? The LEGOs aren’t pink, the little girl isn’t wearing a tutu…and she is damn proud of what she made. Thank you, LEGO, for reminding us that, male or female, what’s most important is being true to yourself.” – Nina Altadonna


Pantene: Labels Against Women

“This ad is extremely impactful because of its ability to illustrate male/female inequality through clear, real-world examples. The situations shown are very literal in their juxtaposition of males and females taking on identical actions, but being labeled differently and unfairly. I think the ad works to challenge your thinking and support that labels shouldn’t define us.” – Chuck Sanchez


Mercy Academy

Mercy Academy

“I like this campaign because it’s showing girls that they are able to break free from the age-old stereotype about female roles in life. I would like to think that IF I am blessed with a daughter in my lifetime that she will have the same opportunities as everyone else to achieve greatness. I also like the idea that you shouldn’t rely on someone else (or a prince) to achieve your goals. I think that message helps build character and encourages women to feel more empowered.” – Todd Pierce



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