Brawny "Strength has no gender" (2017) :30 (USA)

March is women's history month. To celebrate this, Brawny decided to 86 the iconic Brawny Man and celebrate Brawny Women instead for their #StrengthHasNoGender campaign. Call me old fashioned, but last time I checked, paper towels don't have a gender either. Unless Facebook has added another gender to its list of 58 genders one can identify with. I mean if you want to identify as a paper towel, that's cool. No judgments.
Jokes aside you would think a campaign like this would be a positive step in the right direction. After all, Brawny has partnered with Girls Inc. and will be contributing seventy-five thousand dollars to develop girls' enthusiasm for STEM, as part of its Operation SMART programming. Not to mention the millions they spent creating the ad and pushing it out in social. I don't know if they will change the packaging for this month (doubtful since it's expensive to change your packaging when you're a brand that size) but if they don't I'm sure people will complain about it. Because that's all people do these days.
This does seem highly opportunistic for Brawny, and while I don't doubt their sincerity, a paper towel brand celebrating women's accomplishments just seems, well--kind of strange. What does Brawny have to do with Harriet Tubman?
Good for them, I guess. It's certainly a much safer topic than immigration, as 84 Lumber discovered. It's hard to believe that ad was just a few short weeks ago. I've already forgotten it.
What I really want to know is, will other brands follow suit with their mascots? Perhaps Mrs. Butterworth will transition into a man. Or maybe the next Super Bowl ad will feature Ms. Clean. Although women have been stuck in that traditional gender role as household caretaker for too long. Perhaps Mr. Clean will stay male but openly identify as a female. Chester the Cheetah might become Chelsea. Or we'll replace Snap Crackle and Pop with female versions. But only for the month. I'm just spitballing here. I'm sure the next brand who has given zero shits about cause marketing before will come up with something even better.

Agency – Cutwater
Chief Creative Officer – Chuck McBride
Associate Creative Director – Aaron Sanchez
Art Director – Nathan Lewis
Art Director – Rebecca Schefkind
Copywriter – Jay Brockmeier
Executive Producer – Michael Huntley
Content Producer – Robbie Weidie
Producer – Kimberly Grear
President, Principal – Christian Hughes
Group Account Director – Coleen Karkazis
Account Director – Greer Gonerka

Breaking Barriers Credits
Scheme Engine – Production Company
Executive Producer – Sheira Rees-Davies
Producer – Cisco Newman
Director – James Larese
DP – Sing Howe Yam
Triggr & Bloom – Post Company
Color & VFX – Triggr & Bloom
Post Producer – Monica Blackburn
Editor – James Larese

Interview Video Credits
Mat Guido – Blast
Director – Alison Klayman
Line Producer – Dana Popoff
Editorial Company – Beast
Editor – Doug Walker
Color – Dave Burghardt
Executive Producer – Jon Ettinger
Assistant – Seth Andrews

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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LenoreBeadsman's picture

I was literally sick all over the floor just now and I don't think that this is paper towel enough to help me, because apparently this is just some sort of paper hero feminism sheet or something.

I need stuff that can clean things up. Like, now.

Sara Jennissen's picture

Many brands today share a point of view that seem unrelated to their product or service. Another example of a brand supporting gender equality was Audi during the Super Bowl. I would say Audi’s message on gender equality was even more unrelated than Brawny, seeing as how Brawny donated to organizations supporting girls in STEM education.
This is about sharing what their company believes and stands behind and associating those values with their brand. Though this spot may seem unrelated to their product, paper towels, it actually aligns with their company itself. If their company supports helping integrate more girls in STEM programs, than what’s random about them making a spot featuring amazing women in our history?
It is great when brands deliver positive messages, especially related to issues their company is supporting. Today we are seeing more brands do this, and I don’t think they all need to be risky, controversial or political messages. Taking those risks or bold statements does not align with all brands, and that’s okay.
The intent and message behind this spot should be applauded.

kidsleepy's picture

I don't applaud the intention of an ad any more than I hand out participation trophies to my daughter.
Audi's positive message backfired when people went to their website and saw nothing but men on their leadership board. A lot of women, and men didn't have get all the feelz, either.
The other side of this discussion is that these ads are nothing more than an agency or business (or both) deciding to pander. Brawny's contribution to STEM is nice, sure, but it's also a tax write-off at that. I know that sounds cynical but I also know of a cause marketing agency started by a famous and very rich person who happens to enjoy all of the tax write-offs that come with it. What I'm saying is "brand values," make for great copy and all the feelz are nice and all but when more and more brands are hopping on the same cause du jour bandwagon, it should be enough to make one pause. Just because they're saying what you want to hear, it doesn't mean they mean it. Which is why 84 Lumber made an immigrant ad for the Super Bowl despite the CEO of the company being a Trump supporter who believes the wall is a good idea. Business is business. Whatever it takes to sell you something. And if one of those issues end up offending enough people, then you see how fast the story changes.
This is exactly why Target is spending 20 million dollars on single occupancy gender neutral bathrooms "in a move meant to accommodate shoppers who have expressed concern about the retailers’ policy of allowing customers and employees to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender they identify with." They polarized a great number of consumers with their new brand message. Add to that one or two arrests from people of other genders filming in the bathrooms, and their great PR move backfired. Once their stock took a massive hit, they're spending twenty million to solve the issue in all their stores.

Reighn Smith's picture

If Strength has no gender, why the hell are you using just a female? Maybe use a combo of both genders? I hate feminism crap! I will never buy Brawny anything , ever again *+(