WOMEN I Bayer: Gender symbol meets Bayer Cross

WOMEN I Bayer: Gender symbol meets Bayer Cross

The new franchise campaign, WOMEN I Bayer (read Women by Bayer), marks a widespread commitment to reaching and supporting women as an organization. At the heart of this campaign is a creative use of the Bayer Cross, interacting with the Venus symbol that is used in society as a gender symbol for femininity and women. 


From a corporate branding perspective, this raises some questions: Was this really allowed? What impact does it have on the Bayer brand? How did it make it through various debates and approval stages? Let’s find out more.

The core campaign animation for WOMEN I Bayer (read out loud as WOMEN by Bayer), with its unconventional use of the Bayer Cross
WOMEN I Bayer: What is it and why do we need it?

Bayer is the global leader in Women’s Healthcare, having shaped this industry with over 100 years of heritage, expertise and innovations, accompanied by sustainability initiatives and active gender equality campaigns. The widespread offerings were, however, quite fragmented, talking to the same woman across different touchpoints, lacking a consistent approach and an overarching vision and direction. There was an opportunity to reach women holistically and communicate a clear sense of purpose.


This is the aim of WOMEN I Bayer: a master campaign for our entire Women’s Healthcare offering, driven by the Women’s Healthcare team, Pharmaceuticals division of Bayer.


WOMEN I Bayer talks not only to those who were assigned female at birth, but also to all those who identify as women, with a unified voice and a focus on understanding, supporting, and empowering them at a human level. With awareness, education and visibility initiatives, it aims to shed a light on inequalities and uncertainties, eradicate myths, misconceptions and misinformation, so as to give every woman the resources and confidence to access the care and self-care they need.


A full set of branded assets supports this goal, with a striking look-and-feel that reinforces the theme of ‘shining a light on darkness’.


The central icon: an animated logo that transforms the Bayer cross into the female symbol, and back.

But what about the Bayer brand?

From an artistic standpoint, the WOMEN I Bayer logo is powerful – immediately stops you from scrolling, grabs your attention, and tells you something about our values.


But from a corporate brand perspective, it’s contentious. Given the recognized value of the Bayer brand and the uplift in positive interactions it generates, our standard practice is to protect and strengthen the integrity and consistent global use of our company brand. Typically, custom logos aren’t encouraged at all – and if they are, they don’t incorporate or edit the Bayer cross.



How do we find a solution?

In true DSO spirit, we put the customer at the center of all decisions, to achieve an outcome that both leverages the strength of our corporate brand and mitigates any risks to it. The Women’s Healthcare team, who devised the campaign, closely collaborated with Corporate Brand Management and consultatively identified ways to make WOMEN I Bayer a ‘win-win’ for all stakeholders.


By incorporating the Bayer Cross, our customers from across the globe benefit from an extra emotional element with WOMEN I Bayer: the familiarity and reassurance of a trusted global brand that’s the leader in this space.


The positive impact goes the other way too: the Bayer brand can benefit from the direct association with a globally relevant and deeply personal topic. This is our chance to be not just a commercial leader, but also a thought leader, visibly championing women and addressing inequalities.


The animated logo always starts and ends with the full, intact Bayer cross – so the foundation of the recognized brand is always there. At the same time the WOMEN I Bayer logo is always used in connection with the real Bayer Cross and therefore very closely linked to the Bayer brand. It enables new, innovative, and visionary possibilities in reaching our customers and has the potential to fuel our mission Health for all, Hunger for none with new inspiration.


Reworks of the Bayer Cross aren’t always appropriate for every initiative. We always consider the specifics of every product and project, its audience, and our goals. But when we consult and work together, across different teams with a shared goal, we can push creative boundaries while taking care of our century-old brand. 

What they say about WOMEN I Bayer

WOMEN I Bayer is more than just a campaign: It's a milestone within our organization, heralding a renewed approach and an elevated commitment to engaging women on their terms. This initiative is a testament to our dedication to women's empowerment. Our bold and striking visuals embody this commitment and have received resounding endorsement from all our stakeholders.

Burcak Simsek, Women’s Healthcare


Our contemporary approach is ‘freedom within a frame’. Consistent principles are key to protecting our resilient and value-generating Bayer brand – but within this necessary frame, there’s room to be bold and creative, with an entrepreneurial, customer-first mindset. It’s definitely possible to achieve the ‘best of both worlds’ – we can do so if we constructively and openly collaborate, debate, and understand all perspectives.

Sven Theobald, Corporate Brand Management 

Photograph from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) conference in San Francisco, California from May 17–19, 2024
Photograph from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) conference in San Francisco, California from May 17–19, 2024


Disclaimer: When the term "women" is used, we mean to encompass individuals who identify as women, as well as those who may not identify within the traditional gender binary but still identify with womanhood. This usage is intended to be inclusive and respectful of all individuals who identify with the experiences and perspectives commonly associated with womanhood. We acknowledge and recognize the diversity of gender identities and strive to be inclusive in our language.


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