Highlighter Ad Literally Highlights Remarkable Women Who've Been Overlooked

"If a pen company can come up with something this beautiful, so can you."

Now that women are finally emerging from the shadow cast by men throughout history, many of those whose accomplishments were overlooked are earning recognition for their contributions. With this in mind, STABILO's latest ad campaign aims to shine the spotlight on those who never got to bask in the sun during their time.

Conceptualized by DDB Group Germany, the German stationery maker's 'Highlight the Remarkable' campaign features the 'STABILO BOSS' highlighter "highlighting" the extraordinary, but often "invisible," women who helped change the course of history. 


Each ad features an old black and white photograph of important historical figures. Although the images are predominantly filled with men, STABILO used its product to both literally and figuratively "highlight" the woman who would otherwise go unnoticed in each frame.

Designed to empower and advertise simultaneously, STABILO's strategy has gone viral, with designers, agencies, and consumers taking to Twitter to share their praise for this "brilliant" and "genius" approach.

As Ads of the World notes, the agency wanted to challenge the common notion that men are responsible for history's greatest triumphs. "Everyone knows the phrase, 'Behind every great man is a great woman.' But what does it mean? That the man is always the hero and the woman his sidekick? The truth is, all too often women were upstaged, and their actions and successes not mentioned." 

Currently, the campaign features:

Edith Wilson — the former First Lady of the United States who ultimately assumed her husband's presidential duties when he became paralyzed after a stroke; Katherine Johnson — the NASA mathematician whose calculations led to Apollo 11's safe return to Earth. and Lise Meitner — the woman whose partner received the Nobel Prize for discovering nuclear fission even though she collaborated with him to make the discovery, and gave the first theoretical explanation of the fission process. 

As the campaign gains social momentum, consumers hope that STABILO will highlight other women who've been overlooked. In recent months, the New York Times has taken to publishing obituaries for women who were never featured within their pages at the time of their death. Much like STABILO's campaign, the "Overlooked" series offers important women the overdue recognition they never received. 


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