The March of Women

It’s impossible to ignore the collective roar and rise of women lately, and there is no better time to acknowledge this ‘moment’ than now as we head into March, which brings us Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.

This week alone, Double Forte’s social feeds have been chock full of gorgeous photos from the meticulously curated 3rd location of The Wing – the women’s-only club/workspace that has taken New York by storm.

We also had the opportunity to check-out The Assembly – San Francisco’s new shared workspace (largely marketed towards women as a sacred space) to focus on self-care, inner strength and personal growth.

We cheered on all of the athletes competing in the Olympics, fist bumping the women in particular, who took home more medals for the U.S. than the men this year, excelling in snow sports that many people naively consider ‘male dominated’ practices.

And in brand news related to women empowerment, we are tipping our top hats to the newest lady on the label: Jane Walker. The special-edition bottle will feature Jane on Johnnie Walker Black labels beginning this March, to coincide with the female-focused celebrations mentioned above. Yes, it’s a clever marketing ploy to expand the appeal of whisk(e)y to female audiences (some coverage deems the campaign mildly offensive, suggesting that women being ‘intimidated’ by whiskey is an outdated perspective) but we think it is executed in a smart and strategic format that ties into Women’s History Month, weaves in a charitable component with donations from every Jane Walker bottle going to organizations that back women’s causes, and has a clever slogan twist: “With every step we all move forward.” It’s pretty brilliant.

Not every brand has hit the bullseye. You might remember the backlash PepsiCo’s CEO (a woman) received earlier this month when she commented on gender differences and how they relate to product development for Doritos. She cited a new version of the chip – including updated packaging – being developed specifically for women because “women love to carry a snack in their purse.” Cue the internet memes and Twitter rants. And another company that found itself somewhat accidentally in the ‘marketing to women conversation’ is KFC, who cast Reba McEntire as the first female Colonel Sanders in their new ad campaign. It almost felt like a miss that KFC, known for its clever social media banter, didn’t take advantage of the internet trolls and position their casting choice as a more strategic response to current events.

The takeaway? It’s really difficult to market to consumers without alienating someone – especially in a cultural climate that is hyper-focused on diversity and inclusion. Our advice? First, build a diverse team. Then, stay informed. Follow what brands and spokespeople are saying and doing, track different campaigns, and discuss with your team and clients what you all think works and what might not, and why. These are good conversations to initiate. Not just during Women’s History Month, but always.