Over the years, advertising has oscillated from being denigrating to supportive of women. Here's a sampling:
The long-running "Dream" campaign saw women dreaming of going to work, winning an election and swaying a jury in their Maidenform bras. The campaign stood out amid a sea of sexist ads, like this Alcoa Aluminum campaign touting a package design convenient for feeble-wristed women.
This iconic Charlie perfume ad starred musician Bobby Short and model/actress Shelly Hack, who wears a "power" pantsuit as she sweeps through a restaurant and wins over the crowd with her confidence.
The Enjoli woman—eight-hour perfume for the 24-hour woman—not only brought home the bacon, she fried it up in a pan. Women were establishing themselves in the workplace, but stereotypes persisted.
Nike's award-winning "If You Let Me Play" out of Wieden & Kennedy rallied a generation to support Title IX with the words, "If you let me play, I will like myself more." But while the athletic brand recognized the importance of empowering girls through sports, Johnnie Walker highlighted the toned buttocks of women revered for their "intelligence."
Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" from Ogilvy & Mather challenged marketing's stereotypical images—and the impact such a stance could have on consumers and a brand's success. Still, critics pointed out publicizing "real beauty" while selling celluite cream didn't exactly compute.
Always and Leo Burnett won over hearts with the moving film that helped to turn a pejorative phrase—running and throwing "like a girl"—into something more positive. But sexualizing women and relying on bouncing bosoms to sell products, as TomTom recently did, is still part of many marketers' playbooks.