The "Fearless Girl" statue that appeared on Wall Street in front of the famed "Charging Bull" in March has garnered millions of dollars worth of exposure, valuing the 50-inch structure in the tens of millions.
State Street Global Advisors, the investment arm of Boston-based State Street Corp., spent roughly $250,000 to install the statue on the eve of International Women's Day this year. "Fearless Girl" was immediately embraced as a symbol of women's empowerment and gender equality.
The statue became a viral sensation and drew attention from media outlets all over the world. She was even trending on social media sites with the hashtag #FearlessGirl. Celebrities and politicians made the trip to lower Manhattan to pose with the girl for a photo op.
Fight like a girl. pic.twitter.com/qGTn46jS9W
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) April 18, 2017
The location of the sculpture was intended to pressure companies on Wall Street to place more women on their executive boards, according to the Wall Street Journal.
By garnering over one million tweets, "Fearless Girl" contributed to plenty of free publicity for State Street, including thousands of mentions on television programs and in newspaper articles. State Street estimates that the exposure generated the brand between $27 and $38 million in free advertising, the Journal reported.
Although the statue's intentions are clear, the strategy could backfire in the current heated political environment. According to a survey conducted by the PR giant Edelman in the spring, about 57 percent of consumers are either buying or boycotting brands based on the company's position on social and political issues.
State Street even took some criticism from people accusing the company of having too few women executives on its board. One New York Daily News article read, "Equal? Bull! Bankers behind ‘Girl' count few women as execs."
When the statue was originally erected in March, the "Charging Bull" sculptor, Arturo Di Modica, claimed the placement of "Fearless Girl" infringed on his rights, adding that it was "an advertising trick." New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the statue would remain where it is through February 2018.
"Men who don't like women taking up space are exactly why we need the ‘Fearless Girl,'" de Blasio tweeted back in April.