The Era of Empowerment Marketing

5 minute read

In July of 2012, Jonah Sachs published a book called Winning the Story Wars, focusing on and demonstrating the current fads and trends in marketing. Sachs believes that the latest and most successful trend in the marketing world is called Empowerment Marketing, and it is replacing the dark trend of inadequacy marketing. While inadequacy marketing provides content that makes the audience feel like they need the product to be adequate, empowerment marketing is about telling the truth, instilling positive messages, and taking responsibility for the product. Rather than trying to sell the brand, you provide your audience with the facts and allow them to decide for themselves.

This marketing trend has increased in popularity in the past few years since the book’s release. Here are some excellent examples of empowerment marketing campaigns:


CoverGirl Cosmetics has a new campaign called #GirlsCan, in which female role models talk about hearing the phrase “Girls Can’t” and how they went on to achieve their dream. The corresponding commercial features female celebrities with different races, ages, and careers, all prepared to tell you why #GirlsCan.  The spot only makes references to the CoverGirl at the end, when Katy Perry triumphantly shouts “C’mon, CoverGirls!” and Ellen DeGeneres recites the famous slogan “easy, breezy, and beautiful.” This commercial targets all women and encourages them to be fearless, and ignore any negative energy that comes their way. CoverGirl never tries to convince that you need their makeup to succeed; rather, all you need is to be confident and believe in yourself. This commercial has been viewed over 4 million times on YouTube and has 7,401 likes and only 88 dislikes, making their campaign a success.


Duracell Batteries introduced their “Trust Your Power” campaign during football season, and featured Derrick Coleman, a Seattle Seahawks fullback and the first deaf offensive player in the NFL. Throughout the commercial, Coleman shares his story and the obstacles he overcame to get where he is today. Duracell only shows their logo at the end, after the slogan “Trust the power from within.” Duracell is not trying to convince you that if you use their product you will be a successful sports star; rather, that you personally have the power to accomplish whatever you desire. It is a universal message that can apply to anyone watching the commercial, and instantly makes them the hero. Additionally, the video makes you of clever copywriting that never feels forced or inauthentic; when Coleman says “They told me I couldn’t do it, so I didn’t listen” it doesn’t come off as a smarmy pun, but rather as an inspirational commitment to dedication in the face of adversity. The commercial has been viewed over 22 million times on YouTube and has 38,279 likes and only 517 dislikes, with positive and appreciative comments to the brand.


Apple is a pioneer in empowerment marketing, and their “Your Verse” campaign for the iPad Air is no exception. With a background track of the character John Keating speaking to his students in the film “Dead Poets Society”, the audience is reminded that the world is vast and contains endless possibilities, and that we are all lucky to be able to partake in life, to “contribute a verse.” Throughout the commercial, we see men and women contributing their “verses” all over the world, from screenwriting and picture taking to looking at flight coordinates and using its solar powered educational tool kit. The final line of the speech is “What will your verse be?” Apple is informing their audience that the iPad Air is merely a tool for the consumer to make their contribution. The iPad Air will not make you great, but it can help you do great things. Apple is demonstrating a key factor in empowerment marketing; that the consumer is the hero, and the product is simply there to accompany them on their quest if they should need it.

Would you like to learn more about how to use empowerment marketing in your online campaign? We can help! Talk to us today about your marketing strategy.