Over the past few months, women’s equality has gone viral. A conversation that began with the Women’s March has evolved into movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, taking Twitter by storm and illustrating the magnitude of the issue. Feminism was even named the 2017 word of the year by Merriam-Webster. With the groundswell of support, there is no denying that now is the time to bring women’s equality to the forefront. Recently, one brand chose a moment in time that was already positioned to shine a spotlight on the issue – the Golden Globes and the #WhyIWearBlack campaign – to lend its support to an industry where women’s achievements are still overlooked.
Fiji Water, the official water of the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Film Independent Spirit Awards, opted to leverage its red carpet access during this awards season to help bring awareness to the lack of female representation within award nominees, specifically female directors who had created this year’s buzzworthy films. In response, the brand has launched One Sip Forward, which will raise funds for the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. Darren Moran, chief creative officer at The Wonderful Company, Fiji Water’s parent company, explains the brands reasoning behind the unique sponsorship approach, “We were looking at this year’s award-show season and getting ready to do the kind of same stuff that we’d always do, but it’s kind of hard to ignore the fact that there’s so much more going on … what’s happening in Hollywood and how females are not only treated personally but also professionally, how underrepresented they are in some of the creative categories in particular.” At this year’s Golden Globes, Fiji asked celebrities to pose with its water bottle which would trigger a $1,000 donation (up to $100,000) to AFI’s Directing Workshop. To build off this, throughout 2018, the company will feature the work of the women selected for AFI’s Directing Workshop and support their fundraising efforts. Additionally, Fiji is giving consumers an opportunity to make an impact by donating 100 percent of proceeds from its reusable straws to the workshop.
Only 4 percent of all directors across the 1,100 top films from 2007 to 2017 were female. By building off the momentum of #TimesUp and #WhyIWearBlack, Fiji amplified the conversation around women’s equality and added its unique angle to ensure that women in Hollywood get the same opportunities and recognition on the red carpet as their male counterparts. In 2018, we expect to see more brands reevaluating how and where they show up, aligning with the groundswell of support for key issues with unique activations.