AWARE and BBH turn Singaporean women into 'social icons'

In line with International Women's Day 2021, women's advocacy group AWARE has partnered with ad agency BBH Singapore to celebrate and honour admirable Singapore women, by turning them into literal "social" icons on social media. The campaign, titled "#ShesAnIcon", sees the two organisations collaborating with locally-based women illustrators to launch a series of online GIF stickers that seek to elevate Singapore women role models.

The eight women icons who will be featured in the first part of the campaign include local politician Raeesah Khan, actress Jeanette Aw (pictured below bottom) who has made a mark in the male dominated film making industry, ex-SIA stewardess Farzana Abdul Razak (pictured below middle) who triumphed over a plane crash tragedy and gone on to live her life to the fullest, Kanwaljit Soin (pictured below top), the first female nominated member of parliament and former president of AWARE, the Singapore Women Everest Team who pushed themselves through the toughest physical conditions to make it to the top of the world, and more. Each illustration will feature an inspirational phrase or quote spotlighting the achievements of each icon.

The stickers will be made available on website GIPHY, Instagram and personal messaging apps such as Telegram and WhatsApp, with stickers on new role models being introduced throughout the month of March to honour the month of International Women's Day. BBH and AWARE will also use their social media platforms to tell the stories of each of the role models as well as the illustrators. In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Amanda Lim, senior strategist, BBH Singapore, said views and usage of the stickers via GIPHY would be a key measurement metric for the campaign. However, she added that the most important indication is that all the names featured will no longer sound foreign to women in Singapore, and perhaps even around the world.

bbh iwd farzana

bbh iwd farzana

bbh iwd farzana

Lim told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that the intention of the stickers is to start a conversation and provide the tools to increase representation of Singapore women. "Every effort in this space adds up and the lasting impact of the stickers lies in making the names of these iconic women in Singapore familiar to everyone," she said, adding that by "hacking" the most used tags around woman empowerment online, BBH is also aiming to make these iconic women discoverable globally, with their impressions growing with every search. 

She also said that for the first batch of stickers, the agency mainly focused on showing "trailblazing women". It acknowledges that there are many other incredible women who have led, pioneered, shattered stereotypes across different sectors, causes, categories. "[This] is why we are releasing the stickers in phases throughout the month of March. We have also looked to highlight a mix of well known and emerging names in each set of role models so that we are not only featuring known icons, but also shining the light on upcoming ones," Lim added.

The campaign is inspired by a research conducted by BBH Singapore that revealed that only one in ten Singapore women have a Singapore woman icon. 

The ongoing research that has amassed 600 responses so far from women between the ages 16 to 54 (and above) has shown that the vast majority of Singapore women would pick a celebrity from the Western countries including Gal Gadot, Michelle Obama and Ariana Grande. 

“Stickers and memes are very much vehicles for culture today. Iconic illustration stickers featuring women role models such as Kamala Harris have amassed upwards of 22.5M views each, demonstrating the immense power of stickers in inspiring the next generation of women. As an agency that believes in using creativity to make a difference, we wanted to honour admirable women in Singapore by giving them a well-deserved place in popular culture. The greater goal is for women in our country to feel represented and be able to see themselves in these role models," BBH Singapore's Lim said.

Kelly Leow, communications manager, AWARE said: “We are excited to partner with BBH on this meaningful initiative that puts a spotlight on women role models in Singapore and celebrates them in a fun yet culturally impactful way. For too long, stories of Singapore women have been out of the mainstream limelight. Our hope is that these stickers would inspire fellow Singapore women to continue making strides and telling their stories.” 

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