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The gender debate is a fiery one. And at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards this year, it was no different. When Rami Malek received his award for Mr. Robot, the audience was treated to a showreel that included a taste of his nominated performance. And while his fellow male nominees were awarded the same privilege, female nominees were not.

Cue Netflix’s 60-second spot ‘She Rules’, which aired during the awards. The ad is a who’s who of strong female leads from the platform’s wealth of original programming – the shows that are the prime reason 57% of US users subscribe. From Orange is the New Black’s resident funny girl Taystee to House Of Cards’ First Lady Claire Underwood, the spot champions the multi-faceted portrayals of women in media – something the Emmys nominations failed to acknowledge.

Beyond its dedication to promoting equality on the small screen, Netflix’s spot signified its dedication to challenging the traditional values of the TV industry. “Most of the time, companies are sitting within the existing box, shaping their futures, their strategies and their innovations to be part of something that’s already been established as practice,” writes marketing expert Peter Fisk, author of Gamechangers. “It’s about creating a future in your own vision rather than living by the rules that were already written.”

Netflix original series are packed with female empowerment
Netflix US & Canada (2016) ©

Netflix is already notorious for addressing the logistical pain points of terrestrial television – it understands that people want all their viewing in one place, that they want to stream instead of download, that they don’t want to have to wait week-by-week to catch up with their favourite characters. But ‘She Rules’ draws attention to the fact Netflix understands more than just the technical desires of its viewers. It also understands that people want equality and fair representation. And once again, not only has it understood these desires, it’s catered to them, too.

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Hannah Callaghan is an account executive at Canvas8. As an Advertising Management graduate, she’s an expert in all things celebrity and pop culture.

26 Sep 16
2 min read

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