Social and Influencer > Culture & Context




Silver Cannes Lions
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Why is this work relevant for Social & Influencer?

A social media movement that invited brands to be more gender inclusive.

Twitter wanted to drive true societal impact. And to do so, it knew it had to somehow ‘enlist’ brands and get them to share such cause as they would help amplifying and humanizing the movement.

So, Twitter started a ‘cultural revolution’ with inclusivity and respect for all genders at its core.

A first of its kind feature in Arabic allowed brands to engage women in the feminine form (which had always been ignored), helping women Arabic speakers to stand tall within Twitter and brands to become more relatable.


In the Arabic language, verbs have genders that are based on their respective subject (noun) and in turn, a noun may be masculine or feminine; there is no neutral option. And this creates a bit of a dilemma, as the default grammatical gender in Arabic has become the masculine form.

Twitter estimates that close to 60% of its users in MENA are female. However, when brands address their audiences through the platform they are speaking to them as if they were male.

This poses a challenge: Brands are not able to speak with women in the way they should be addressed, and, as a result, miss the opportunity to further engage and create meaningful connections. Connections that could not only drive more human inclusiveness, but also commercial growth for their businesses.

So how could Twitter stay true to its purpose of triggering positive societal change while helping brands succeed commercially?

Describe the creative idea

#FeminineArabic was a new movement launched by Twitter, inviting brands to communicate more inclusively with their female audiences. While simple, it proved to be a powerful creative solution to a problem many never really understood, bringing a united voice driving inclusivity in the Middle East.

The solution.

Twitter changed its platform by launching a new language feature that allowed brands and users to address Arabic speaking women as they should be addressed: as women.

The launch, which happened through a video and the promotion of #FeminineArabic was supported by inclusivity workshops and debates developed in partnership with brands across the region, elevating not only Twitter’s profile with female Arabic speakers, but also the sense of social responsibility and participation of the brands who stepped up and joined the campaign. Sending a genuine statement to society on gender inclusivity and respect.

Describe the strategy

Twitter’s overall objective was to foster an environment where all voices can join the conversation. And ultimately, targeting and partnering with brands seemed to be the right strategy to deliver the intended societal impact, as brands carry a significant share of voice and action within society. Being trusted entities with tremendous power to disseminate good.

So, the goal to create inclusivity and pivot the way female Arabic speakers were addressed wasn’t achieved by merely engaging with women and men online, but by ensuring their trusted brands adopted the innovation and led by example. Being brands that walked the walk and talked the talk.

Powered by ingenuity, Twitter allowed brands to communicate with every single one of their users by integrating feminine Arabic to the experience, making Twitter the first social platform to create genuine inclusivity. It also contributed towards helping brands rethink engagement strategies, leading to business and commercial success.

Describe the execution

Upon the introduction of the new language feature, the launch was announced through an integrated comms&media plan. We first sent out the press release along with a video announcing the introduction of the new language setting. The announcement was further amplified through our Twitter MENA and Twitter MKTG pages as well as Brands, Media Channels, Influencers and Arab Leaders. Users just needed to sign-in on the platform and opt into the Arabic (Feminine) option available in the drop-down menu.

To keep the momentum going, we understood that enlisting brands was not enough, they needed to believe in the movement as well. To do so, we engaged with our partnered brands extensively through workshops and debates, to better understand their views and encourage them to engage in more inclusive conversations with their consumers. We found the more they amplified the message the more it attracted new partners and gain greater exposure.

List the results

Instantly, brands directly engaged with Twitter by re-tweeting the post or commenting on it. Hundreds of brands, from Samsung, to MasterCard, to Puck and Addidas joined the conversation.

Our hashtag and campaign emoji, were trending on the platform and exchanged among brands as they tweeted and engaged with their users.

The movement gained even more momentum - with brands embracing it and creating full-fledged #FeminineArabic campaigns. This response from brands was a true testament to a higher sense of commitment from them in a quest for positive change.

Twitter and its partner brands generated real societal impact that will likely be felt for generations.

And to prove that doing good can be commercially viable, brand partnerships with Twitter increased by 23% during the campaign.

Please tell us how the brand purpose inspired the work

Twitter is a platform that prides itself on facilitating conversations. Both easy and hard ones. So, ensuring all people willing to drive positive change have a voice, is a fundamental pillar of the brand.

With the belief that inclusivity goes beyond tech inclusion and access, Twitter understood the need to approach the topic of gender equality in Arabic speaking countries. The chosen path to get started was through language, as women are commonly addressed in the masculine form every 17 seconds.

And that happens even though Arabic has both the feminine and masculine forms. It’s simply become the default and normalized way to speak Arabic.

Twitter, staying true to its essence, saw an opportunity to make a difference by pushing for an open conversation on the topic – hopefully driving sustainable positive change at a macro cultural level.

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