Havas launches arresting ‘Impossible to Ignore’ campaign for UN Women on International Women’s Day

A mass media takeover on March 8th 2019 ensured that female innovators could no longer be ignored

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The Challenge

Despite global progress, women around the world continue to not only lack equal access to economic opportunity, technology, and means of production, but when they do gain access to it, they are often not recognised for their achievements. Mainstream culture is quick to attribute success to male innovators; when asked to name a famous innovator, most people name men like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.

As the UN launched #SheInnovates a special series celebrating the extraordinary women and girls using innovation to solve the world’s problems, the challenge was clear - how do we shine a light on pioneering women to ensure that they are no longer overlooked?

We had amazing stories of female innovation and accomplishment to feature, the problem was that time & budgets were against us. With only 6 weeks until the launch on International Women’s Day, we knew that our idea needed to be strong enough to cut through, but also simple enough to be achieved in such a short turnaround.

The Idea

At the heart of the campaign, the idea was simple. These woman have been invisible for too long.

It’s time to make the women behind innovation “Impossible to Ignore” so that they can be acknowledged for their amazing work, and inspire women everywhere.

Using the power of media on International Women’s Day, the ambition was to ensure that across both London and New York, for one day, these women stood loud and proud, grabbing the attention they deserve.

The Solution

Partners NASDAQ, JC Decaux, The Economist, Walgreens, Westfield, Facebook and more contributed high profile sites in New York, London and across print and online. The ads displayed a series of arresting images of 9 female innovators emerging into the light; forcing people to stop, pay attention and be inspired by their example.

Using photographers such as Bibi Cornejo Borthwick and Nadirah Zakariya, who donated their time for free, the campaign grew from an initial 1 day London shoot featuring 2 women, to a 6 city shoot featuring 9 women.

Uniting with our Havas Media partners in London and New York we were able to create a “rallying cry” for media partners and owners and the results were incredible.

The Results

Securing over 1,000 insertions across platforms – all of which were donated for free – the campaign reached over 5 million impressions, placing the faces of inspirational women onto some of the biggest and most arresting media sites in the world. It also secured coverage in publications in both the US and UK and led to a spike in registrations for UN Women’s #SheInnovates programme on International Women’s Day.

Tracey Barber

Group CMO UK & Europe , Havas