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Engage, inspire, empower.

According to Think with Google, ads that empower have more than doubled in the past year on the YouTube Ads Leaderboard. Far from preaching or selling, brands are spreading messages of gender equality, love, and body positivity.

Brands are focusing more on building long term relationships with their audience rather than sending a one-off message. With video set to account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic in 2017, brands are utilising the immediacy and emotional power of video content to connect with their audiences on an emotional level.

Working in tandem with this is the use of hashtags to promote messages of empowerment. Taking advantage of the shareable nature of hashtags and large social media communities, brands such as Dove and L’Oreal have bought us empowering hashtag campaigns that have rallied these communities, ensuring these hashtags have taken on a life of their own.

The result of this wider trend is “Femvertising,” a modern concept which refers to ads that specifically empower women. Hailed as the fourth wave of feminism, Femvertising has gained so much traction that She Knows Media, a women’s lifestyle digital media company, presented their first-ever #Femvertising Awards in 2015.

Towing the fine balance between empowering women and meeting bottom line sales objectives, Femvertising is a divisive subject with some dismissing it “hashtag feminism.” Nosheen Iqbal from The Guardian argues that hashtag campaigns that target women’s empowerment issues ignore any analysis of gender inequality in favour of feeling good. Others like Susan Wojcicki from Adweek argue that Femvertising and in particular, social media, gives women a voice and viewers an opportunity to talk back. She notes that people are “hungry for creative that inspires rather than objectifies,” and highlights the ability of video to convey stories and truly bring them to life.

So, as storytellers ourselves, here are some of our favourite Femvertising campaigns.

Always: #LikeAGirl

Always turned an insult into a message of empowerment. Appealing to the next generation of consumers, Always targeted girls in a transitional pubescent stage with a simple message of confidence and empowerment.

YouTube: #DearMe

In honour of International Women’s Day 2015, YouTube asked women around the world to upload a video letter to their younger selves. The #DearMe campaign utilised the influence of prominent YouTubers such as Lilly Singh to instill confidence in younger girls and advocate for a variety of teen issues.

Hello Flo: First Moon Party

Tackling an often undiscussed topic from a humorous perspective, the First Moon Party campaign from Hello Flo is the perfect example of how humour can be used to create an open conversation, empowering the audience with a message of zero shame and embarrassment.

American Greetings and Cardstore: World’s Toughest Job

This four-minute video was released just before Mother’s Day 2014 and sends a powerful message about women’s roles as well as being a tribute to all mothers. Using the perfect mix of authenticity and surprise, the ad was responsible for a 20 percent increase in online orders.

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