Women’s Day is a really bad excuse for a public holiday. I keep thinking it’s about women’s rights in general and, until I was reminded this morning, forgot that it is intended to honour the women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 to protest the pass laws. And I’m probably I’m not the only one who sees it as just another public holiday, rather than a rallying cry for women’s rights. But since it’s a whole three months since the productivity-sucking surfeit of public holidays we enjoy every year around Easter, I’m happy to sit back and enjoy a day off.
And it’s the perfect time to share with you one of my favourite TV commercials. It celebrates ordinary women exercising, uninhibited by what others might think. I probably like it because I started swimming this year and had to get over my fear of being seen floundering about in the pool!
But this isn’t universally approved by feminists. Others have argued that it’s anti-feminist, claiming it sexualises women as much as more traditional ads. I’d be interested to hear your perspective.
I like the ad, but I was also intrigued by the lack of visible branding. Who paid for this and why? It didn’t appear to be a sports shoe brand or a clothing company. I wondered whether my confusion was due to the small screen of my laptop, or the lack of context since it’s not a local ad.
Clearly the idea is to inspire women to accept themselves and get active. To realise that you don’t need to have the body of an Olympican to participate in sport. This Girl Can is a campaign, but it’s not a brand.
The brand might be the organisation behind this public service message, Sport England. But the campaign isn’t about creating awareness of the organisation. There’s a clearly focused message, with no distractions. There’s quite a contrast between this approach and that of so many public service messages we see, where advertising is used to promote ego agendas instead of focusing on the issue at hand. The KZN Department of Health gave us a great example of this a while ago.
What do you think of the ad, and how do you feel about the branding? Let me know in the comments section. And if you enjoyed the post, please share it on social media.