Brawny, the paper towel maker, is temporarily replacing its well-known lumberjack with a woman on some eight-packs of paper towels. The special paper towels, sold only at Walmart, are part of Georgia Pacific’s “Strength Has No Gender” campaign, which highlights four women who have been successful in their fields.
The company launched the campaign March 1 to coincide with Women’s History Month. And, proving that no marketing deed goes unpunished, people on social media immediately made their opinions known.
While some praised the move, others criticized Brawny for what they called an unwarranted intrusion of politics into what ought to be a neutral shopping experience.
Others questioned the depth of Georgia-Pacific’s feminist credentials, pointing out that company’s owners -- Charles and David Koch -- have a history of donating to politicians who oppose abortion rights and funding groups that have opposed equal-pay legislation.
The four women featured on the packaging can boast some noteworthy achievements. They are Dr. Anna Kornbrot, an oral surgeon who was the first woman to graduate from Columbia College; Vernice Armour, a Marine and the first black female combat pilot in the U.S. armed forces; Brittany Wenger, a self-taught software programmer who created a method of detecting breast cancer; and Patty Lopez, an engineer with seven patents to her name.
As part of the campaign, Georgia-Pacific said it would donate $75,000 to the nonprofit Girls Inc. to encourage girls to pursue science, engineering or math careers.