The Luupe highlights gender and culture-positive marketing and advertising campaigns that moved our team in a tumultuous year.

In 2020, many brands and agencies stepped up (or maintained an already strong track record) to acknowledge and support the need for change and hone their messaging to include more empathetic and forward-thinking ideas and practices.

From Wieden + Kennedy’s clear and direct statement on their commitment to Black lives to Apple’s eloquent embrace of the power of women, agencies are taking a stand. And although not overtly political, Frida Mom’s hilarious and straight-up “don’t be a dick” campaign to support empathy for new mothers resonated with the parents on our team. While it’s not the first time that brands have embraced progressive ideas, and no brand is immune to a problematic past, it marks a revitalized commitment that we hope will continue.

Below are ten of the many campaigns that made an impact on our team in 2020.

 

1. Wieden + Kennedy’s statement on Black Lives Matter

Weiden and Kennedy are known for their consistently memorable campaigns for global brands like Nike, for their smart use of language and sharp visuals. Remember their campaign supporting Kaepernick? Great, thoughtful, sincere work. What stands out to us especially this year, is their direct statement on Black Lives Matter. While many brands and organizations struggled around messaging, WK’s words were clear, direct, and simple. “Embrace and support BLM or find work elsewhere.”

This extends beyond internal employees to the brands they work with. “If you do not support this sentiment as a client, we’ll gladly support you finding another agency.”

 

2. Behind the Mac – for International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Apple worked with TBWA\Media Arts Lab to compile a diverse collection of images of seventeen of the world’s most successful and influential women with their computers. It’s set to a soundtrack of Beyonce’s ***Flawless, featuring excerpts from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’ 2012 Ted Talk “We Should All Be Feminists.”

 

3. Dove’s “Dad-On” Father’s Day Campaign

Pushing against the age-old Man-Men conjured stereotype of fatherhood, Dove produced a warm and fuzzy video celebrating diverse representations of fatherhood. They worked with Ogilvy Toronto, to compile a collection of user-generated moments in dads’ lives. A dad cooking while wearing his child, bottle feeding, and in Dove’s narrator’s words “Loving, living, leading and looking ahead…” Their use of authentic, sometimes low-fi-feeling footage makes this campaign more accessible and real.

 

4. Procter and Gamble: The Choice

In June, setting its own measurable benchmarks for inclusive representation, hiring, and investments in Black-owned businesses, Procter and Gamble produced “The Choice” with agency Grey and Cartwright. The video ad shows a montage of close-ups of different shades of skin overlaid with text like “How are we to respond when we are shown over and over that our lives do not matter?,” Being White in America means never needing to state your life matters,” and “Not being racist is not enough. Now is the time to be anti-racist,” to a moving soundtrack of Moses Sumney’s Doomed.

The campaign received some mixed reviews but the overwhelming response was acclaim for its effective use of messaging, sound, and visuals, especially in the context of actionable commitment.

 

5. Squarespace’s “We Present”

 

Squarespace shares the stories of Black women entrepreneurs using Squarespace to connect with their communities. This four-episode series, made in partnership with WePresent/ WeTransfer takes a documentary-style to dive into each woman and project’s story. Squarespace writes:

“Black women are the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs and small business owners, particularly in the U.S. – forging paths for the new generation to follow and setting standards for the young businesswomen of tomorrow in the process. We’re proud to tell the stories of four successful, women-identifying Black Squarespace customers as part of our We Present: Make It Real series.”

 

6. Citi’s True Name and #UpdateMyName Campaign

 

Citi began supporting transgender and non-binary customers with the choice to have Citi-branded credit cards and account profiles that match their preferred names and pronouns. Our team nearly moved to tears by the video and ad series produced by McCann and photographed by Luupe photographer Annie Tritt.

Photos by Annie Tritt

 

7. FridaMom | PSA: Postpartum Service Announcement

FridaMom’s PSA for new moms, their partners, friends, and anyone who engages with them during the postpartum “fourth trimester” resonated with the parents on our team. It’s a message focused on the “dicks” that cross new mothers’ lives. Not just in the literal sense, but the insensitive individuals and behaviors that disrespect new moms.

“Your doc won’t warn you about these, but you’ll know ’em when you see ’em. Think of all the dicks who might come by to drop off some unsolicited advice instead of a meal. The ones who will make you feel like you’re doing it all wrong instead of letting you nap? Yeah, they’ve gotta be avoided for at least 6 weeks too. Doctor’s orders.”

 

8. Beats By Dre: You Love Me

In a time when we are constantly seeing images of racism and Black pain, Beats By Dre’s You Love Me short film/ ad presents a hopeful, positive, love-driven narrative focusing on Black joy and achievement. Featuring tennis pro Naomi Osaka, rapper Lil Baby, and Bubba Wallace, with visuals by Melina Matsoukas and music by Solange Knowles, the film includes a montage of images that acknowledge injustice, and celebrate Black life, love, and accomplishment.

 

9. OXFAM’s #SecondHandSeptember Featuring Michaela Coel

OXFAM’s ad featuring Michaela Coel. Photographed by Tom Craig

Hoping to change fast fashion brands’ unethical labor practices, Oxfam developed this campaign with Michaela Coel to celebrate second-hand fashion while raising money to beat poverty. Oxfam and participating partners asked consumers to only buy second hand. The campaign was featured in the windows of more than 500 Oxfam shops throughout the UK, showcasing clothing from the Oxfam Online Shop, and the clothes that she is sporting will be available to buy from Oxfam’s pop-up shop in Selfridges London Designer Galleries.

 

10. Netflix: Motherhood in Focus

This short by Netflix celebrates the resilience and awesomeness of working moms in Hollywood. Their ability to lead, to push through obstacles, to confront challenges. “We see you. Keep leading like a mother, hustling like a mother, and showing everyone what a mother can do.”