The Fearless Girl
McCann New York’s Global advertising agency network ‘Fearless Girl’ campaign was one that really stood out to me. The message and story behind the advert I feel is very relevant in today’s society where women criticising other women especially, still occurs. In honor of International Women’s Day 2017, they partnered with State Street Global Advisors to introduce this ‘Fearless Girl’ to the world: a statue of a young girl, standing strong on Wall Street. McCann introduced this concept ‘… because companies with women in leadership perform better.’ The Fearless Girl was placed on Wall Street in the middle of the night and became a global phenomenon within 24 hours.
The statue stared down at the 28 year old Wall Street “Charging Bull” statue. I love the message because I agree that not only is she a potent symbol of female leadership in business, but also the fact that in my opinion there is a strong need for companies everywhere to get more women on their boards and into powerful positions.
The statutue became a serious tourist attraction, surrounded by crowds who were eager to see the girl’s confident and defiant pose. It was the place to take a selfie in Manhattan. It is said that when the company first thought of the idea, they felt the magic for it. When they launched it, they felt humbled and overwhelmed by how the city, and particularly individual girls on the street, reacted to it.
I personally was drawn to her because I feel that there is something relatable about a child. I almost saw myself in her and also saw the future of equality for women in business. I similarly feel that the timing of the advert launch was also a key factor in its success. Launching it just before International Women’s Day really provided people the opportunity to emotionally react to her. This idea possibly stood out to me because the advert was so different compared to the traditional print ad, hashtag of video.
Leadership has always been historically male and as a result viewed by many as the back-bone of successful financial businesses. McCann New York conducted studies that found companies with gender-diverse leadership, and women in leadership, are actually more lucrative. Therefore the statue provided them with the opportunity to attempt to change this perception of what a successful company is made of. I feel that this challenge definitely pay off.
The positioning of the statue was also important: facing the bull. I don’t know about you, but whenever I think of this animal, I image it as the symbol of power and maybe even masculinity. McCann New York thought they had to figure out a way to change the meaning of the symbol of Wall Street. This power is reflected in the girl’s stance; the hands of the hips show her strength and confidence, rather than the bull’s anger.
Kristen Visbal, the sculptor, was found by production. It was very important to the company to work with a female team and they wanted a female artist to be part of this. Similarly, they wanted a female photographer and as much female leadership as possible. I was happy when I found out that so many female hands were involved in the project.
They were meticulous with Kristen about designing the girl’s look. It was important to everyone at McCann that she would feel relatable to girls and women from a multitude of different backgrounds and walks of life. I think they did an amazing job of ensuring no group of people felt inadequate or not included.
‘Fearless Girl’ went into Cannes Film Festival as a favourite and took home the top awards in the PR, Glass and Nontraditional Outdoor categories. I believe it may have won the PR award as a result of the really courageous status which did wonders for brand awareness and even sales. They were able to do well by making a positive social statement. The Glass category recognises campaigns that produce ‘culture-shifting creativity’ that ‘positively impact ingrained gender inequity.’ I think that the fact that the Fearless Girl won this award creates hope and aspirations for every girl and/or women in the world. The jury opted to give ‘Fearless Girl’ top honour in the ‘Outdoor’ category because the campaign "…felt, very, very outdoor," according to the jury president Bruno Bertelli.
I believe that the Fearless Girl was a piece of breakthrough advertising that helped to empower women all over the world. McCann New York, in my opinion, created a piece that’s exceptionally tactile and artful. The campaign definitely gripped the world’s attention.