A Brand New Promise to Women?

In honour of International Women’s Day (this Sunday, March 8), let’s consider two brands that are known for demeaning women in their advertising: GoDaddy and American Apparel.

GoDaddy, a website domain provider, once made its name with “GoDaddy Girls” and bad innuendos about beavers.

image from GoDaddy's 2008 Superbowl commercial

Image from GoDaddy’s 2008 Superbowl commercial. Can you guess what models and their beavers have to do with web domains? Neither can I.

A fairly new CEO, Blake Irving, has partnered with female CMO Barb Rechterman to turn things around. Irving explains:

“My youngest sister was a psychologist and a researcher who specialized in eating disorders … one of her theses was the effect of the media on women’s bodies and self-esteem … my sister ended up passing away tragically about 12 years ago and my promise to her was that I would pursue as much as I could in my own field to level the playing field for women so that they’re not at a disadvantage and actually have every benefit that men have because she was such a strong advocate,” he says. “When I came to GoDaddy, it was hard to imagine a better place to come to shift the way women are perceived in the media.”

http://www.fastcompany.com/3041434/strong-female-lead/why-godaddy-is-finally-trying-to-repairing-its-sexist-reputation

Meanwhile, American Apparel has replaced controversial founder and CEO Dov Charney with its first woman CEO, Paula Schneider.

How do you think she can keep the brand edgy without resorting to hyper-sexualized silliness?

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/can-american-apparels-new-ceo-tone-things-down-without-turning-it-old-navy-162000

dov charney with creepy stache

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2 thoughts on “A Brand New Promise to Women?

  1. Jennifer Refalo

    I think it’s so great to see this move towards portraying women in a positive light in the media. There is no need for a company such as GoDaddy to portray women as sexual objects, especially considering that “sexy women” have nothing to do with web domains. As for CEO Paula Schneider, I think she can still maintain the “edginess” of American Apparel without all of the pictures of naked girls posted all over the company’s website. The idea is to maintain the image of “a rebellious teenager” who wears American Apparel clothing because they are not average and do not stick to the status quo. This image can be maintained through still using young, edgy models (both male and female), but eliminating all of the unneccesary sexualization. Basically, it is important to keep that raw feel that the brand emits, but keep the nakedness to a minimum!

    Reply
  2. David Scherpenzeel

    I would have to agree that the shift is highly needed for both of these companies. For many individuals, the associations created in their minds between these companies and sexualisation can be extremely harmful to the equity of the brand. However, because the strength of these associations are so high, it could be extremely difficult for both GoDaddy and American Apparel to pull away from them. It is easy to mange the brand element and associations, but the managing of consumer’s perceptions of a brand is a completely different story. Take Nike as an example. Years after it was first identified that they use sweat shops, many consumers still quickly connect these two ideas. Even though many other companies have and still use sweat shops, Nike it often the first name recalled. GoDaddy and American Apparel could easily be faced with a similar situation. How are they going to change the perceptions that consumers have? How long will it take to remove the connection between sexualisation and these two companies if they can at all? It will be interesting to see how this unfolds in the years to come.

    Reply

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