Festival Intelligence: Fighting for gender equality in LatAm | M&M Global

Festival Intelligence: Fighting for gender equality in LatAm

Gender equality is – or should be – a fundamental human right. Yet despite women and girls representing half of the world’s population, gender equality still persists everywhere and is stagnating social progress. But the marketing industry has a key role to play in providing greater visibility by putting its power and influence behind relevant causes to stimulate and ignite social change for good.

From gender equality in the workplace (on average, less than one in three senior and middle management positions are held by women*) to domestic violence (one in five women and girls have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner*) and beyond, gender equality affects everyone and is critical to all areas of a healthy society. (*Source: UN)

It’s encouraging, therefore, to see that advertisers across Latin America are taking bolder steps with their marketing strategies and taking a stand to address various issues centered on female empowerment and pushing for equality.

Looking at the Festival of Media LatAm Awards 2018, 14% of the entire shortlist was made up of campaigns that were solely dedicated to supporting females in some shape or form. Within these, the charity and not-for-profit ad sectors represented almost half of the entries, followed by retail; then food & beverage, FMCG and finance / utilities.

Patricia Weiss, Chairwoman of the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) South America and a final judge at this years’ awards picked up on two key words throughout her judging experience: Relevance and Meaning. She commented: “We could see a lot of great and purposeful ideas from across the region, which go beyond even the Impact Award category. In Latin America, we are seeing more brands taking the responsibility to represent society and create some deeper conversation with more relevance and meaning.”

The work across the LatAm region shows a significant spread across countries suggesting that these issues aren’t confined to one particular market but are pertinent across the region as a whole. The majority of these female-centric entries came from the Dominican Republic, followed by Brazil and Colombia, then Argentina and Peru. These campaigns went on to achieve a 75% success rate, taking home seven Gold, four Silver and one Bronze trophy – showing the effect that these initiatives had on achieving the initial objectives set out.

Traditional media still proved to be an important medium across the region with TV working hard to drive the message home. The real impact, however, was in combining traditional with non-traditional channels, using digital, video and social media to gain the support of influencers, celebrities and key opinion leaders to help spread the message further.

All of the entries were implemented on a fairly low budget, showing that brands, agencies and media owners are increasingly pushing creative boundaries to drive the impact needed to make a real difference.

From giving female sports visibility to addressing sexism in traffic and cars, pushing for a change in child marriage laws to giving women a private platform to speak up about domestic violence, and encouraging women to look after their health with self-examinations, the gender equality issue goes much deeper than what appears on the surface. Two campaigns in particular made a concerted effort to address the gender pay gap with creative and innovative campaigns that set out to shock, surprise and create buzz in an authentic and relevant way.

One of the key elements in each of these entries was the timing, with many brands tying their campaign efforts to a particular event or day in the calendar year where significant noise was already being made around the world to raise awareness of particular issues.

At the Festival of Media LatAm 2018, Alejandro Betancourt, Associate Brand Director at P&G, spoke about how the company is advancing to drive gender equality as a core pillar of its diversity strategy via its #WeSeeEqual campaign [watch the full presentation here].

“Our aspiration is to create a better world for all of us – inside and outside of P&G – a world free from gender bias and a world with equal representation and equal voice for women and men. A world where everyone sees equal… We believe that by being a good corporate citizen and governing our company with the highest standards and by also walking the talk internally, not only externally, this becomes a reality.”

While progress towards gender equality and empowerment of women is being made around the world, there is still some way to go. Brands have an opportunity to really make an impact by propelling women forward, giving them a voice to speak up and help drive social change. The more brands can do in dedicating their marketing efforts to such causes, the sooner we might be able to tackle gender equality once and for all.


We put the spotlight on two Festival of Media LatAm Awards 2018 winning campaigns, which highlight this trend:

Evita, the equality bill | DDL & CO | Havas Media | Argentina

Shortlisted for: Best Event / Experiential Campaign (GOLD WINNER), Best Campaign for a Local Brand (GOLD WINNER)


The feminist movement in Argentina is the strongest one in Latin America. Yet this remains a country with a deeply ingrained patriarchal culture. This fact is present everywhere, even in their wallets… Each time a customer opens their wallet they will find a total of six different men portrayed on the bills, while only one woman has hers – the only bill featuring a woman in Argentina’s history. And not any woman: Evita Perón, someone who’s remembered for fighting inequality between sexes. 

As Women’s Day was approaching, Havas Media came up with the idea of raising awareness about the gender pay gap by making the bill with a woman’s face on it worth 27% more than the one with a man’s face on it, meaning while Roca’s bills were worth 100 pesos, Evita’s bills were worth 127. This way consumers could become conscious in a very concrete, tangible way of the injustice behind the fact that women are paid 27% less than men for the exact same work. In the end it was as if DDL & Co gave 27% off all its products and made people more conscious about gender pay gap.

The brand posted the initiative on its Social Media Channels and contacted over 15 of the most important Instagram influencers to share content produced specifically for the campaign. It also activated some paid media with non-traditional advertising on TV. The next phase was a PR operation to have the stunt published in various printed and digital media. The initiative really started to take off when around 45 opinion leaders in Argentina (actors, politicians, socialites, religious leaders, etc) started posting about equality bill.


Dia de la Mujer | Scotibank | Peru

Shortlisted for: Impact Award (BRONZE WINNER)


We have become accustomed to live in an unequal world. Insight is based on being exposed to different cases of gender inequality. Society is familiarised with this situation and does not recognise its impact. As a consequence, no actions have been made to reverse it. Scotibank believes it’s necessary to demonstrate with solid actions how inequality affects women in multiple aspects and wanted to contribute in the search of fairness. With this in mind, a big idea was designed: The price of equality: is it possible to establish the value of people, as we do between currencies?

Women in Peru earn 29.2% less than men. As an agent of change & to raise awareness, Scotiabank decided to expose that wage inequality with a strategy to support women through endorsed business partners. In addition to this, Scotiabank granted the implementation of bill printing with female characters. On International Women’s day, a 29.2% discount was given to women that completed payments with their Scotiabank card, to compensate them for wage inequality. In addition to this, it created bills with female characters that were valued 29.2% less than its actual price. These bills not only were valued for less but they also excluded the male characters printed on them.

To promote the campaign, the brand exclusively used social media sites such as; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube. Ads were then segmented to the Scotiabank customer database and then expanded by means of look a likes and interest segmentation.

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