CEOs as you’ve never seen them before – Forbes Women makes a point about equality and opportunities

CEOs as you’ve never seen them before – Forbes Women reimagines Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and more as women to make a point about equality and opportunities.

Forbes is best known for giving us all the latest news on how entrepreneurs are taking big leaps in the business sector. The company is recognized for its impactful covers and celebrating successful people in different industries whose innovative ideas have disrupted markets across the globe.
However, when the Forbes team sat down to analyze the covers they have been featuring over the years, they noticed that an interesting trend – almost all the people on these covers were men – a pattern that they found hard to ignore anymore. Being the leading business magazine, Forbes took it upon themselves to get to the bottom of this, resulting in their campaign Forbes Women.

As Forbes probed further, they were startled with this skewed representation of women leaders on their covers. The men-in-business trend is more of a reality than just a chance occurrence. To showcase this glaring misrepresentation of women on their hallowed magazine cover, the company has created a series of Forbes Magazine covers but with a twist – while the covers still feature leading businessmen, their genders have been changed to showcase business women who might have never got the opportunity to be on the cover, despite their achievements.

In the first installation of the Forbes Women project, entitled ‘Equal Pay Billionaires,’ a series of ads were showcased – the point of which was to start a conversation about equal pay. After all, since studies show women in the US make 80 cents to every dollar a man makes, Forbes wondered – if the richest people in the world were women, would they remain the richest people in the world? Here’s what Forbes found.

  • If Mark Zuckerberg had been a Marcia, she would 21% of what she makes.
  • Forbes Women - Mark Zuckerberg

  • Billie Gates – the reimagined version of Bill Gates, would fall from the top of the list of billionaires to a spot at number 4.
  • Forbes Bill gates

  • Carlos Slim would lose 17% of his pay if he were born a ‘Carla.’
  • Forbes Carlos Slim

The importance of this campaign is heightened when you consider where actual women even start to show up on Forbes’ infinite list of billionaires. The first name – Liliane Bettencourt – can be seen at spot no. 14 – and pretty much all of the women on the list are there because of money they’ve inherited, rather than created because of their businesses. And when you do find women have cleared that milestone, they are all the way down at the very bottom of the list. Clearly, the Forbes campaign is not about nothing.

In 2018, Forbes Brazil came up with a follow-up campaign to ‘Equal pay billionaires.’ After teaming up with Ogilvy Brazil, the company released an unsettling campaign that asks – would we know of people like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or Larry Page if they were born women? The question is visualized with a similar approach as the ‘Equal pay billionaires’ campaign – but with this project, entitled ‘More opportunities,’ Forbes asks the viewer more significant questions about why women don’t seem to become big names in the business sector.

The print ad is further accentuated by the slogan that accompanies each picture: ____ ‘probably wouldn’t have founded (the specific company name).’ For many in the industry, this is quite an eye-opener especially given the realistic depiction of the founders as the opposite gender.

Taking what they’ve learned through the first ad campaign ‘Equal pay billionaires,’ Forbes’ aims to push further with this installment. With the simple tagline, ‘More opportunities, more women on the list.’ Forbes makes a clear point about why there are so few women on the Forbes’ list of billionaires – and the answer is as simple as not having the same opportunities.

However, Forbes didn’t just want to run an ad campaign that couldn’t be backed by concrete evidence. This is why, in the ‘More opportunities’ ad campaign, it has taken a step ahead and provided statistics to back up their claims. And because each print ad doesn’t have the same statistic, it makes the message even stronger and worthy of attention.

Forbes Larry page

Forbes Jeff Bezos

Forbes Elon Musk

Some critical stats mentioned in this campaign:

  • Female-led companies get just 16% of loans offered every year.
  • Startups founded by women receive only 7% of all venture capital raised each year.
  • Women-owned businesses receive only 5% of government grants distributed each year.

Looking at these numbers, it is clear that women are not often not trusted to succeed, and so less money is invested in the projects that they create. With mind-boggling data blended seamlessly in this hard-hitting campaign, Forbes has genuinely made a serious effort to make the business sector more diverse and inclusive. This indeed is another wake-up call for the entire corporate community to march towards a future that potentially includes women in leadership roles. The messaged has been conveyed. But are we listening?

Brand: Forbes
Campaign 1: Equal Pay Billionaires
Campaign 2: More Opportunities
Advertising Agency: Ogilvy São Paulo, Brazil

This Print Advertising is about:
Ogilvy, São Paulo, Brazil, Forbes Women, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Elon Musk, Equal Pay Billionaires, Liliane Bettencourt, Forbes Magazine, Digital Campaign, Creative, Creative Print Ads, Creative Advertising Campaigns, More Opportunities

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