Glass: The Lion For Change > Glass: The Lion for Change



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The entrepreneur is today's hero. From self-made men to tech gurus, the entrepreneur is a role model for young people. But many entrepreneurs never get the chance to shine. Especially those working the hardest—women in developing countries.


Empowering women is one of the most effective ways to break the cycle of poverty and create economic growth. And media can play an important role. By unveiling inspiring stories, media can change the mind-set and attitudes toward women entrepreneurs globally. Yet, media rarely does. By example, Fortune Magazine has not had a woman on the cover since 2014.  


Within this context, the Foundation500 campaign plays a crucial role. Foundation500 is a list of entrepreneurs growing their businesses in the harshest startup-environments in the world. Even more, it is a list of 500 women, who are changing the future for themselves and creating an impact on the economy. These women became business leaders in a world where women are refused the same access to education, financial service and bank loans as men. Therefore, these 500 companies are also 500 stories about life-changing bravery, independence, role models and gender equality.


You can't be what you can't see. With Foundation500—now you can.


The creative idea was to turn the number of women helped by H&M Foundation to start a business into something more graspable—something most people could understand. We decided to play the role of a challenger by challenging Fortune Magazine and their famous yearly business-ranking-list, the "Fortune 500". Their list features only 4% women—our list, The Foundation 500, had 100% women in the top, all women of colour, and from developing countries.


Traveling around the world to conduct interviews and take portraits with a professional photographer, we portrayed these women as business leaders; just like any male counterpart. Like Tim Cook of Apple. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Or like Jack Ma of Alibaba.


The creative idea had a natural appeal to media and PR. And it had a win-win opportunity built in. Either media covered the campaign, or media NOT covering it would be the story that we pushed.


All interviews and photos taken were then turned into professional business profiles and portraits to convey the same feeling of "business" as would a male-oriented power-ranking-list, such as the Fortune 500 in the US. In total the campaign featured 50 power-portraits, 450 interviews, and over 21 pages and 7400 words written about female business leaders.


Launch, June 8:

(1)Embargo pitch to business media and news agencies.

(2)Exclusive for Reuters and Metro.



(1)August, in newsletter to 30M H&M customers.

(2)December, photo-exhibition in Stockholm.

(3)March 8, 2018, International Women's Day campaign on H&M Global Social Media Channels

(4)April, 2018, Print ad in Metro United Nations Edition


ASSETS: Press release, 500 interviews on, 50 portraits, B-roll video footage and Behind-The-Scenes-material for Facebook/Instagram video and posts, printed magazine with our interviews+photos (available post-launch).


PLACEMENT: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Earned Media

SCALE: A small team, produced locally but launched for global reach.


"Most lists of “top business leaders” have one thing in common—lots of white male faces. Now, the H&M Foundation, is offering some counter-programming: a list of 500 female entrepreneurs, all women of color and all from the developing world." —Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune Magazine…



1)Fortune Magazine covered the Foundation500 list after 5 days.

2)The campaign was covered by 370+ international media, including Reuters, New York Times, Weibo, Yahoo Finance and The Daily Mail.

3)Reach: Over 65 countries, 169 million people the first week, +40M reach added post-launch. Total: 209M+

4)Social shares 67,500

5)Site traffic: 150 000 unique visitors, 3,75x target (375% of KPI)



–Message penetration: 6/5 Key Messages picked up by over 90% of coverage.

–A majority of articles use one or more images of female business leaders.

–In September 2017, Fortune had the first woman on the cover since 2014.

(Source: M-brain &


To create the Foundation500-campaign we collected data from H&M Foundation's program for gender equality. From the data, we choose the 500 most developed entrepreneurs to be featured on our all-female-alternative-power-ranking-list. We then sent NY Times photographer Malin Fezehai to Indonesia, Jordan, Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, Peru, Guatemala and Zambia, to take 50 portraits of female entrepreneurs in the same style used for male business leaders: looking powerful, strong and confident.



(1)Business journalists globally were selected to give our female business leaders the same status as men.

(2)Fashion press was selected to reach H&M Foundation’s main target group: females 20-45.



(1)To break-through in business+fashion media our photos and interviews had to look good and have the feeling of power.

(2)The campaign had a natural appeal to media. And had a win-win PR-opportunity built in; either media covered the campaign, or media NOT covering it would be our story.


H&M Foundation's mission is to be a catalyst for positive change. They work towards reaching the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5, 6 and 13. And their communicative approach is to use positive storytelling to inspire people, instead of alarming messages that make people feel change is impossible.


For the Foundation500 campaign, we focused on goal #5: Gender Equality. Within this goal, the H&M Foundation, together with humanitarian organisation CARE, invests in women’s economic empowerment by equipping women in poor communities with the tools they need to start, develop and grow their businesses. Since 2014, their program has reached over 100,000 women.



To turn that number into something more than a number—something the global public can understand and be inspired by.


Business Objectives:

-Global reach and awareness in business media and general news.

-KPI: 40.000 visits to campaign page


Creative Objectives:

-Challenge the stereotype and the approach of the non-profit category.

-Distinguish H&M Foundation's work from that of H&M-group.

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