These 4 Must-See Campaigns Featuring Strong, Bold Women Were Just Recognized as the Very Best

The 3% Conference honored strength in inclusive creativity

Droga5's Chase ad featuring Serena Williams was an Athena Award winner in Chicago. Chase
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While the ad world may, at times, continue to struggle in its quest for better representation in its output, the 3% Movement honored advertising that showed the resilience, ambition and courage of women from different walks of life. At a 3% Conference ceremony in Chicago, the winners in the second Athena Advertising Awards were recognized in four categories: film, events/experiential, integrated campaigns and social marketing.

“As a former creative director, I’m thrilled to see such a variety of clients represented in this year’s Athena Ad Award winners,” said Kat Gordon, founder and CEO of The 3% Movement. “It proves a belief I’ve held for years: that every single consumer category can benefit from showcasing women in authentic and dimensional ways. This work is powerful and memorable and will build affinity in consumers’ minds.”

From left: Kathryn Kolbert, co-founder of the Athena Film Festival; Berit O’Connor, Client Solutions, Twitter; Kat Gordon, founder, CEO, The 3% Movement; Angela Yang, Group Director, Social & Media Strategy, T3 (Photos: Bronac McNeill)

Droga5 won in the film category with “Mama Said Knock You Out,” an inspiring and emotional ad featuring Serena Williams—awarded as this year’s Brand Visionary at Adweek’s Brand Genius event—and her daughter Alexis. The popular and well-received ad was in support of the agency’s client, Chase Bank.

In the events/experiential, “No Conditions,” the multiple Cannes Lions-awarded campaign for the Times Of India by FCBUlka India emerged as the winner. The work carried a powerful message of unity as women rallied for each other to drive home the importance of inclusivity and equality during India’s Durga Puja annual celebrations.

“I am absolutely over the moon,” said Swati Bhattacharya, CCO of FCBUlka India. “Winning an Athena gold makes the sisterhood ritual complete. This year, this campaign has touched millions of women’s lives all over India, making it truly an idea whose time had come.”

TBWA/Chiat/Day walked away with the top award in the integrated campaign category for “Here to Create Change.” The campaign for Adidas featured tennis and civil rights legend Billie Jean King. Launched around the U.S. Open, the work was based on the insight that girls are more than twice as likely to drop out of sports than boys; it spanned a wide range of media and platforms and included a limited-edition shoe.

“This is some of our most important work at TBWA\Chiat\Day NY,” said Chris Beresford-Hill, CCO of TBWA\Chiat\Day NY. “Not only does it celebrate the change created by a powerful woman, but the work was also led by some of ours.”

Finally, in the social marketing category, T3 emerged victorious for their client UPS and their Wishes Delivered program. “One Girl’s Future” was the empowering story of Taylor, a young girl who has dreamed of being a pilot since she was a four-year-old. T3 chronicled her experience with UPS, ending with her co-piloting a flight with one of the brand’s pilots.

Judges for this year’s Athena Awards included Swati Bhattacharya, CCO of FCB Ulka, who served as jury chair; Amy Ferguson, ecd of TBWA\Chiat\Day; and Ryan Oliver, brand strategy at Twitter.

“Our panel of distinguished judges did a wonderful job of selecting ads that reflect women’s courage and moxie,” said Kathryn Kolbert, co-founder of the Athena Film Festival.

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.