The Bold and the Beautiful — Taking Risks That Cut Through a Cluttered Market
Nike has done it. Gillette has done it too. Big brands are making bold moves, and they’re making waves that leave a ripple effect among their competitors. There is always two sides of the coin when a business takes a bold step forward, and the hardest question to answer is usually this:—
Is it worth it?
It’s not just about making bold statements — it’s about making relevant bold statements that matter. We recently addressed the ways that brands misuse Pride Month for their own gains at the cost of their customer trust and loyalty. In this article, we take a look at bold campaigns by brands that sparked conversation and change.
Axe: “is it ok for guys…” Campaign
Axe has always been a man’s brand. Gendered marketing has led to the birth of a number of stereotypes and behaviours over the years. This has become a heavy topic of conversation among the masses of late. Axe tackled the weighty conversation of toxic masculinity in their “is it ok for guys…” campaign, turning the idea of men perpetuating these stereotypes on their heads.
The campaign specifically addressed the burdens of masculinity placed on men and the deeply problematic ways it bleeds into society. It showcased a number of actual Google questions asked by men around the world each day. These questions all revolved around whether or not it was ‘okay’ for guys to act, like, or do certain things. Axe opened up the conversation about the way toxic masculinity was affecting not just society, but themselves. It encouraged men to take stock of the behaviours they put out into society and each other.
Nike: The Lioness Crest
Nike just keeps hitting the mark again and again with their campaigns. Controversial and bold and entirely unapologetic, The Lioness Crest campaign was done in collaboration with the Dutch women’s football team during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017. Dutch football was facing some of its darkest times — the men’s team was, at least. Its women’s team at the time was experiencing an upswell of energy and excitement but getting very little recognition for it. Nike worked to celebrate these powerful athletes with the vigour they deserved while inspiring all fellow female Dutch athletes.
Nike committed a substantial amount of time and effort into thoroughly understanding the mindset behind female Dutch athletes, as well as understanding the significance and boldness that was necessary when they turned the Netherlands lion into a lioness. Daring to alter the beloved and revered national symbol on the Netherlands Women’s team, Nike sparked a serious amount of attention and conversation around the team and the brand. It also brought to light the prejudices and biases that were still prevalent in the sporting industry between men and women’s teams.
The Beauty of Boldness
When everything is said and done, Nike and Axe have both come out stronger and better with each campaign. It’s true that each campaign had its fair share of criticism and backlash, but Nike and Axe’s stocks seem to only climb ever higher. Though numbers are what all businesses look for, revenue should never be the driving force behind why brands take a stand. Numbers are the result of boldness, they shouldn’t be the motivator.
These are just two of the current brands out there making waves with their marketing campaigns and changing the ways that brands are having conversations and taking social responsibility to heart. Breaking the mould of success that has guided a brand through the generations may seem like a daunting thing, but customers today don’t take social responsibility lightly.
Dare to be brave. Dare to be socially responsible.