June 2021 was a month of progression. We found that all our favourite marketing campaigns had a social justice edge – from ditching the iconic Victoria’s Secret Angels to Nike tackling toxic masculinity, last month was big on changing the lives of customers.
1. Nike’s Toxic Football
We’ve loved seeing the discussion on toxic masculinity and male mental health open up during the Euros, but our favourite conversation starter has to be Nike’s toxic ball. The advert begins with a battered ball barking out outdated and toxic coaching advice such as “this is a man’s game” and “nice guys finish last”. Before the ball can do anymore damage, it is booted by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford MBE. The advert uses humour and an influencer renowned for his social justice campaigns to address a serious conversation and we can’t think of a better way to ‘Get Britain Talking’.
2. Gymshark combats sexism in gyms
According to Gymshark, 71% of women are harassed/subject to sexism at the gym on a regular basis. The activewear company has launched a poster-led campaign under the headline ‘Gymshark Safe Spaces’, which draws on the real life experiences of female gym goers. Those gyms that sign up as a safe space will adopt the below anti-harassment guidelines:
- Feature the posters inside the gym, targeting men at the point of the problem
- Support women with ‘Ask for Harriet’ - a new gym-specific version of ‘Ask for Angela’, used when people feel unsafe in bars
- Have clear anti-harassment clauses in their gym contracts to put it front of mind for all gym goers
We love that Gymshark are using their influence to improve the lives of their customers!
3. Our wait is over
Like many, we mourned the loss of the 2020 Euros last summer but, as the BBC outlined this month, there are actually a few positives to come out of it. The broadcasting company plastered witty optimisms across England, Scotland and Wales this month. Our favourite had to be ‘we’ve waited an extra year but England are better and Ronaldo is older.’ Not only is it funny and uplifting, but we found ourselves believing it a bit too!
4. TikTok combats cyber bullying
Social Media is a fantastic tool and one that, when used correctly, can inspire and build people up - however, trolling and cyber bullying are all too often the reality. Throughout June, TikTok have posted a series of animations featuring the potential for a hateful comment to be posted – once the protagonist decides not to post the hateful comment, the animation changes to reveal a real human. As TikTok puts it:
"By using their distinctive animation styles and voices, and revealing themselves at the end of the videos, these creators drive home an important message: behind every account is a real human being who deserves to be treated with kindness and respect."
5. Barbie goes green
We remember when Barbie was criticised for her lack of diversity and portrayal of unrealistic beauty standards. Their new advert, however, seems far away from the white, blonde dolls of the 90s, with disabled and POC barbies donning the screen – and this is only the beginning. Barbie’s ‘next big makeover’ is her move to greener plastic – their new collection has three dolls comprised completely of ocean-bound plastic!
6. Vicious Circle
Since 2010, the number of rough sleepers has increased by more than 250% in England. As HSBC’s new advert demonstrates, it’s very hard to get out of the cycle of homelessness. The advert depicts a woman being turned away from opening a bank account because she doesn’t have an address and when she tries for a job, she is also turned away, as she has no bank account. Finally, she tries to rent a property, but she’s told to move along as she doesn’t have a job. This cycle repeats, increasing in pace with a voiceover repeating ‘No job, no home. No home, no address. No address, no bank account. No bank account, no job.’ The advert is simple, but the message is clear – something needs to change. We love seeing companies pool their resources to help those in need and HSBC’s partnership with Shelter will only serve to help the thousands of rough sleepers in the UK.
7. Ask Me
St John Ambulance have launched a poster-based campaign that will be shown in over 2,000 locations across the UK. The posters feature images of people who have been saved by first aid given by St John ambulance volunteers alongside ‘ask me’ captions such as ‘Ask me how my grandson saved my life’. Real reviews and stories have a significant impact on audiences, so we love to see them being used in marketing campaigns. The poster campaign is coupled with a social movement - #AskMe - where you can share experiences of First Aid.
8. Victoria’s Secret abandons their angels
We finish our June summary with an iconic ending – the abandonment of Victoria’s Secret Angels. The underwear brand has come into criticism in recent years for their iconic Angels – a group of tall, slim built models who act as the face of the company. Critics claim that the models create unrealistic beauty standards and Victoria's Secret CEO Martin Waters said the Angels were not "culturally relevant."
Make sure you come back in July to find out our latest favourites from the world of marketing! You won’t want to miss it!
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