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When it comes to awareness days, weeks or months, most marketers worth their weight in PowerPoints and strategy timelines will know what’s coming up and how to make the most of it. From National Conversation Week to Meatball Day (that’s today, if you’re wondering!), we’ve usually got it covered if it has the potential to place our brands in the spotlight.

But, yesterday was a little different – it was one of those rare so-called awareness days that carries a real, hard-hitting message. International Women’s Day commemorates the movement for women’s rights and is a chance for us to celebrate strong women and how far equality has developed, but with the reminder that there’s so much more to be done.

With this in mind, it’s the perfect opportunity for brands to get involved and show their support; however, jumping on the bandwagon to get a few column inches just won’t cut it.

Consumers have become extremely savvy in recognising when a sales campaign is dressed up by a team of marketers (ahem!) as a show of solidarity – they want to see businesses believing in a message and taking real action. Let’s take a look at some of this year’s International Women’s Day campaigns and whether they hit the mark…


As one of the world’s most recognisable brands, any involvement in IWD needed to make a splash. The fast food chain inverted its iconic golden arches at one of its Californian restaurants to create a ‘W’ ‘in celebration of women everywhere’, according to its chief diversity officer. The logo on the brand’s USA social media channels was also flipped upside down as part of the campaign.

While many praised McDonald’s for making such a bold, timely statement, others dubbed the act as ‘McFeminism’, arguing that the brand should pay more attention to staff pay and benefits instead of stand-out stunts.

Marie Claire

The media giant marked IWD by launching its #NotMyJob campaign to call out workplace sexism and a change in the law.

As part of its 30th anniversary celebrations, Marie Claire is using the campaign to shout from the rooftops that it’s not any woman’s job to do the same job as a man and be paid less for it; that it’s not their job to flirt their way to the top; and it’s certainly not their job to be penalised for choosing motherhood to run alongside their career. So, in conjunction with women’s rights charity The Fawcett Society, #NotMyJob will work to protect women’s rights at work in the face of Brexit and fight for changes for future generations.

British Airways

The country’s flagship airline brought in Carol Vorderman to front its IWD campaign which put its female workforce in the spotlight by launching its first ‘end-to-end female flight’. The flight from London Heathrow to Glasgow headed for the skies on Monday with 61 women involved, including baggage handlers, cabin crew and security.

Royal Air Force Cadets ambassador and qualified pilot Carol spoke about her passion for encouraging young women to consider a career in the aviation industry. This year’s IWD also marked the 108th anniversary of the first ever female to receive a pilot’s licence and, as part of the celebration, BA invited seven women aged 16 to 18 who had previously done work experience with the airline to join the flight as passengers.

With so many brands from across various sectors getting involved in this year’s IWD, it can be tricky to decide which ones have the message running through their veins and which ones are simply there for media fame – what do you think? Were you lovin’ the McDonald’s flipped arches or was the campaign slightly over-cooked for you? Leave a comment below and let us know.