The linking of the word "empowerment" to marketing messages that actually do the complete opposite is something we’re seeing more and more of. Could it be either a lack of creativity or worse, a cynical ploy to play to people’s insecurities and sell product? Either way, we see too many brands who claim to be "empowering” people only to push one-dimensional marketing campaigns and or imagery that does anything but.
A gender-specific issue?
While it isn't an issue limited to one gender, it can affect women in particular. The co-opting and corrupting of feminism by advertisers is nothing new. Indeed, it goes a long way back. But the enthusiasm in recent years with which brands have tried to market their products using imagery or language that effectively puts women into a box falsely labelled “empowering” is worrying. Within our industry for example, trying to sell product using images of women dressed up impractical workout gear or bikinis, using airbrushed images with make-up and hair extensions simply isn’t empowerment. It’s inauthentic and could be seen as an attempt to sell product by tapping into the fears and concerns of women. The same thing could be said of using marketing images of guys with perfect six-packs or huge muscles.
There is another way
While it may feel that the word “empowerment” has been hijacked , there are brands who are trying to do it the right way. Innermost focuses on the deeper benefits of being fit and healthy. Sure, it’s great to look good but only because it should give you more confidence and most importantly it ought to be a by-product of being fitter and healthier, which should allow you to do more and lead more interesting lives. As a brand, we're committed to leading the way and highlighting what real empowerment means through the things we say and do. The next time you see a brand claiming the word “empowerment”, ask yourself whether it’s real empowerment you’re seeing, and don’t let yourself be fooled. Reward those companies that get it right and maybe, just maybe, we'll see more of the right sort of messaging in the future that really does empower us all.
Featured photo taken at a Lorna Jane dance event that we were invited to sample our products at. A group of women meeting up early on Saturday morning to learn some dance moves and get their hearts pumping.