As the temperatures in Toronto begin to rise and the snow starts to thaw, here in the Clear Channel offices our thoughts have turned to spring and all the things that come with it. There’s the March Break rush when students and families jet off to warmer locales or, alternatively, flood the downtown core and make the most of all the city has to offer with a staycation (we know this because it suddenly becomes much more crowded in the Square and we can never get a seat in the Urban Eatery at TEC!) There’s St. Patrick’s Day, that welcome mid-month excuse to raise a pint on a school night and maybe even sit on a patio. And of course, there’s International Women’s Day.
Cue the needle scratch – you didn’t even know that was this month, right? Maybe you didn’t even know there was an International Women’s Day?
Well, we’ll let you in on a secret – most of us didn’t know it happened in March either. In fact, the more we talked about it, the more determined we were to shine a light on this oft-overlooked but hugely important day.
Well, conveniently Clear Channel happens to own some of the city’s best digital screens that broadcast directly into the city’s busiest intersection (Dundas Square) and the city’s busiest building (Union Station), so we’re well equipped to spread a celebratory message far and wide. So we got the medium nailed down but as with any good campaign, we needed to narrow down our message and figure out what we wanted to say.
During a good, old-fashioned brainstorming session we talked about the women in our own lives and, more specifically, within our own industry. Much as those Mad Men days of smoking indoors, scotch for breakfast and the glass ceiling rising no higher than a secretary desk are behind us, advertising has traditionally been a male-dominated industry and while we’ve come a long way, there are still significant boundaries that beg to be broken. Women only make up about 11% of creative directors and have yet to reach parity with men in management roles. In many ways we’ve got to be twice as good to get half the recognition and make a name for ourselves.
However, when women do break through and change history, those names become powerful. In fact, in many cases they become their own brands! (Hello, looking at you Oprah.) And since brands are our business, we decided to flood our boards with the coolest ones of all – all our favourite women. We started compiling a list of all the ground-breaking and inspiring women we admire, shouting them out over each other “Beyonce!” “Amal!” “Diana!” No last names needed, clearly.
After a few hours of looking over the shoulder of our graphic designer/creative genius and saying things like, “Oh! Put in J.K. Rowling! And Sook-Yin Lee! And Arianna Huffington!” we came away with the spot you see below. We’ve featured everyone from teenage activist Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head for speaking out against the Taliban and for girls’ right to education to pop superstar Taylor Swift whose all-girl power #squad has made supporting feminine friendships cool again, to Rosa Parks and Nellie McClung, the OGs of feminist activism.
As for our tagline, “A woman’s place is out-of-home”, it’s simply our homage to the old saying “well-behaved women rarely make history.” However you choose to live your life, the point is that you should always be free to make that choice – at home or elsewhere. Happy International Women’s Day to all the brave, brilliant, and badass women out there!