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Last month Vans released an online documentary on International Women’s Day featuring Girls Skate India. Founded in 2016 by Atita Verghese (India’s first female pro skateboarder), Girls Skate India aims to empower young women through the sport, which is still considered highly unorthodox for Indian girls. The release of the video was accompanied by Vans’ hosting over 100 skateboarding clinics around the world (from St. Petersburg to São Paulo), focused on teaching girls to skate.

Consumers will reward brands with meaningful values, blah blah blah. Every marketer knows this. But this powerful campaign stands out for a number of reasons:

First, consider the scale and diversity of this campaign: 100 global events and an Indian documentary! This bringing together of online and offline, local and global, personal and universal makes those involved feel that they’re part of something far bigger than themselves. Exactly as any good brand purpose initiative should.

Most importantly, it walks the walk. If you’re going to talk about empowerment, then giving an existing local community a global platform is a great way to demonstrate that value. So, next time you’re planning a ‘meaningful’ brand campaign, before parachuting in with a top-down solution conceived in your agency’s corner office ask yourself: “are there any relevant local communities that we could help, rather than starting something ourselves?”

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