case study

GEA: How we managed to communicate a polarizing topic, achieving virality without controversy

about the client.

Gender Equality Alliance (GEA) is an organization that stands for an inclusive culture, equality, and unlocking the powerful synergy between digitalization, e-commerce, and woman.
GEA - Gender Equality Alliance

the challenge.

Gender Equality Alliance (GEA) is an organization that stands for an inclusive culture, equality, and unlocking the powerful synergy between digitalization, e-commerce, and woman. Even though GEA is an initiative of the well-established Macedonian E-commerce Association, the organization itself was new and as such, needed to raise awareness about its existence, as well as about the matters it stands for – primarily, gender equality in the workplace.

The biggest challenge we were facing, which we knew from the beginning, was that the topic historically, in any form and on any media, generated widely polarizing comments and reactions. Some of those comments were openly misogynistic and chauvinistic, others pointed out that there were more important issues in the society that needed to be addressed, while some expressed their regular skepticism as with everything else connected to NGO platforms.

So, we needed to create awareness and publicity for the organization, with a topic that could easily generate the widest range of reactions, a big part of which we expected to be very negative and rude.

the approach.

As in other cases, we based our communication on the available research and papers relevant to our society, trying to locate the positions in the gender inequity in the workplace for which there were empirically confirmed and easily explicable facts.

We found several of those, but most of them were related to digital professions, such as programming and the general IT industry, because most of the data was coming from research conducted in this field.

For example, there was an obvious pay gap between men and women in the IT industry, a fact that was solidified by another one – that women spend much more time working on freelance projects in addition to their 9-to-5 job.

But the problem here was that the expected reaction of the public would be to point out that even with the obvious pay gap between men and women in IT industry, the gap between the pay of women in IT and women in other industries is even bigger and that the women in IT industry are not to be pitied at all, compared to the women in the textile industry, for example.

In the end, we decided that we need to step away from the empirical research and look for other starting points, such as men-women relations that are more relatable and generate wider consensus and then compare them to very explicit similar situations that happen in the workplace.

the process.

We started looking at relationships between men and women in which men in the absolute most cases are being fair and supportive to women. When it comes to the workplace, where men had the majority in management and decision-making, almost always the relationship depended on the individual, and there was no general rule of thumb. But there was a relation we could build on, and that was the father-daughter relationship.

So we knew that we will get the consensus for the messages in which the father cares for the daughter and does everything to address the situations in which the daughter won’t get equal treatment.

What we needed to do now was to find the appropriate situations that can be easily linked to situations in the workplace, so we leave no space for different interpretations, aside from the obvious one – that it is a classic example of inequality.

We also knew that the father should be also a decision-maker in his workplace, in order to give emphasis on his thought and decision-making process, but also to make him relatable to our most important target group in this case – the men in the management that can have an impact on women careers. This is also why we wanted to present the main character as one that unconsciously or by default makes the mistake in the workplace – because that way we can leave room for all of the men in this position to reconsider their behavior based on the positive example shown in the relationship with the daughter. If we pictured him as a negative character, we could face resistance and the message could be not delivered successfully.

the result.

The final result was a storyline in which the father, who is also a decision-maker in his company, is at home and preparing to leave for work. In this short period, he is simultaneously communicating with his daughter who is also preparing to go to school, and with his coworkers, because he is very busy from very early in the day.

In the communication with the daughter, he always makes the right choice, insisting on her equality, but at the same time, when faced with a similar decision in the workplace, he just follows the already established stereotypes, not even being aware of that.

We translated this message and plot into a short movie and adapted it into several formats, for different channels and social media. It instantly became a viral one, generating over 300.000 views across channels. What is more important, it didn’t generate any negative comments, but on the contrary, several decision-makers in private conversations with the client stated that they were deeply moved because they absolutely recognized themself in this sort of behavior.

The video was later played on several occasions in manifestations connected to gender equality initiatives, and it was also shown in a reception at an event organized by the First Lady in the Presidential Palace.

what they say about us.

Our goal, as a new organization, was to gain recognition through a creative message in line with the values we promoted. Even though it was a tricky field. Zhar Ptiza managed to produce a video that became viral immediately, bringing us thousands of new followers across all channels.

Viktor Stojkovski - General Secretary
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