Charities join forces for Women's Day campaign

Amnesty, Save the Children, Oxfam and ActionAid are among the charities to have teamed up to launch a campaign to mark the centenary of International Women's Day (IWD) on 8 March 2011.

Amnesty - one of the charities backing International Women's Day
Amnesty - one of the charities backing International Women's Day

The coalition has appointed ad agency Karmarama to devise a brand identity for the initiative, with the aim of achieving the same level of consumer impact as Make Poverty History did in 2005.

Marketing activity is expected to kick off early in the New Year. Singer Annie Lennox is one of several celebrities backing the campaign, which will run throughout 2011.

The drive will focus on the UK, but have a global reach through member organisations such as Oxfam. The ads will target 16- to 30-year-old women.

Karmarama is researching four brand identities, ranging from serious propositions about gender equality to light-hearted options that are expected to resonate better with the target market. A final decision will be made next month.

The campaign will rely largely on free media space, with ITV, Channel 4 and Sky having already signed up to co-operate. Paid-for advertising, which could include a cinema ad on 8 March, is also planned.

Other activity is likely to include events, a short film featuring celebrity backers, print ads and a digital campaign. The creation of an as-yet undecided product which would be sold to raise money is also under discussion.

A spokeswoman for the coalition said the key objective was to get young men and women engaged in the gender debate. She added that as well as messages about inequality in the UK, the campaign would address global issues, such as lack of education and healthcare for women.

Although IWD was launched in 1911, this is the first co-ordinated approach to marking the event. 'Each of these charities has celebrated IWD in the past in its own way,' said the spokeswoman. 'For this campaign, we are combining efforts as we need to get the next generation on board.'

The other charities involved in the coalition are Women's Aid, Women for Women, Funny Women, Fawcett Society and the White Ribbon Alliance.

IN MY VIEW - EXPERT COMMENT

Andrew Nebel: Owner of charity consultancy Hemgate and ex-UK director of marketing and communications, Barnardo's

One of the biggest challenges a campaign such as this faces is identifying what 'the big idea' is. Make Poverty History says exactly what it is in just those three words.

The charity coalition will need one strong idea conveyed in a way that resonates with the public.

What is the evil the charities are looking to eradicate and the problem they are trying to solve? The day should be used as a trigger, but to give the campaign longevity, it needs a simple premise that strikes a chord with the public, media and governments.

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