Five 5-Star Ads Celebrating Women

As diversity became a critical issue for businesses in the 2010s, there’s been a rise in ads celebrating women – whether breaking down gender stereotypes, fighting back against sexism, or simply shouting out loud about awesome women.

This morning Aisling from our UK team sent an email round picking some of her favourite ads for International Women’s Day – including the 5-Star classic “Like A Girl” from Always – and of course, we used our ad and brand testing tools to test these ads.


Always’ ad was from 2014 – but work that celebrates women is still regularly scoring 5-Stars. Inspired by Aisling’s list, we’ve put together five ads from our FeelMore50 2017 list and from our recent Live Super Bowl tests that mix inspirational women and great emotional marketing.

NBC Winter Olympics – “Mikaela Shiffrin”

A.B.F.T.T.B. – “Always Be Faster Than The Boys” – in this ad for NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage, that’s the motto which inspires skier Mikaela Shiffrin to her athletic heights. With its jaunty rock’n’roll soundtrack, tight storyline and breathtaking sporting action, this ad emerged as the most emotional of the entire Super Bowl. (5-Star NBC spots for fellow Olympic women Lindsey Vonn and Chloe Kim weren’t far behind.) NBC’s faith in Shiffrin was well founded – she won slalom gold in Pyongchang last month,

Dairy Farmers of Canada – “Mia And Morton”

From sportswomen to businesswomen – this charming animated ad for Canadian cheese tells the story of Mia, a young entrepreneur who has a new take on how to run her family’s traditional cheesemaking business. You won’t be too surprised to learn she’s vindicated. Commercials that tell the story of someone sticking to their dream are hardly new, but too few of them star female characters. Mia’s 5-Star story shows how to do it.

Audi – “The Doll That Learned To Drive”

Another animated ad, this one from Spain and offering a humorous twist on one of the big gender and marketing battlegrounds of recent years: the toy aisle. The ‘traditional’ gender divisions in toy marketing – cars and bricks for boys, dolls and glitter for girls – have come in for fierce criticism. Why on earth shouldn’t girls play with Lego, or toy cars, or action figures? The twist here is that the ‘girl’ determined to cross the tracks and play with the boy’s toys is Barbie herself (or a legally defensible equivalent).

Philips – “Mom’s Energy”

Motherhood is part of the set of traditional gender roles. It’s also – as this Philips ad conclusively proves – a bloody hard job that should get more recognition as physical, not just emotional, labour. The neat trick of giving moms energy-charging shoes (and using them to power a hospital ward) helped this ad go viral in Argentina.

Toyota – “Good Odds”

And finally, back to the inspiring women of the Winter Olympics – in this case the Paralympics, with Laura Woolstencroft serving as Toyota’s example of how passion and determination can help you even the odds in life. The message – and Woolstencroft herself – were inspiring enough to gain 5-Stars and a place in our Super Bowl Top 10 this year.

These five ads are diverse in theme, tone, country, and in the kind of women they celebrate. All they have in common is that celebration – and the 5-Stars they earned in our testing. There’s a long road to travel before women get the representation in marketing they deserve (behind the camera too). But some of the best ads around are taking that road.

Thanks to Aisling for inspiring this post and to the hundreds of amazing women working for and with System1.


At System1, we help the world’s largest advertisers make confident, creative decisions that lead to transformational business results. Our powerful ad testing platform (Test Your Ad) and our idea testing platform (Test Your Idea) help brands predict the commercial potential of ads and ideas. Complementing TYA and TYI is Test Your Brand, our brand tracking tool which measures the impact of ads and ideas on brand health, ensuring long-term brand growth through predictive success.

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