You may or may not have heard of the trending video advertisement made by the feminine hygiene brand Always, but it was a video that came out in 2014 which featured different aged girls and even some boys being asked to do impressions of actions but ‘like a girl’. I remember my mum showing it to me, and I thought it was quite a good video that made me think. It showed them running while flapping their arms around, flipping their hair showing vanity and fighting by flamboyantly slapping in front of them. It showed the different interpretations of what the young girls had of the phrase and then the older girls and guys, which were quite different, revealing that at some point over puberty and growing up girls confidence levels drop and when they hear ‘like a girl’ it means weak or of offense.
I chose this particular campaign as gender comes up a lot on social media, in popular culture, politics and everything in between. The video relates to social constructs of males and females. What started as essentially just an advertisement became a hugely popular social media movement. The ad, which was by documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield, was made to form an emotional connection with the younger generation, particularly the target audience of millennial women aged 13-34, however it really struck a cord with all women and even men. On YouTube it garnered more than 85 million global views from over 150 countries and won a Black Pencil in 2015 in the ‘Creativity for Good’ category. The central focus was to empower girls at a critical stage in life.
Feminism is talked about a lot among older women, but this ad had an inspiring message for all ages to hear, and was meaningful enough without over doing it. It was a good way of empowering girls from a young age and also let everyone else hear the message. It did however have its disagreements. Six months after it was released, there was a shorter 60 second video shown at the 2015 Superbowl, with a lot of support for it but also people jumping on a #likeaboy band wagon as they didn’t like that only girls were highlighted and empowered on the ad. (This was primarily just an ad for Always pads and liners –female products)
(Pic: Huffington Post reference 3)
The response however was mostly positive and many people used the hashtag #likeagirl to share their stories and empowerment. Judy John (Chief Executive Officer/Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett) says ‘the hashtag was essential in rallying people to change the meaning of ‘like a girl’ by showing the world that it can mean amazing things’. It encouraged people to take part in changing the meaning. The fact that an advertisement can have so much reach, with 133 thousand social mentions in the US alone and #LikeAGirl trending on Facebook for a month, this small social experiment grew into a trending social conversation and became one of the most popular breakthrough viral videos of 2015. They are intervening on social issues girls face from the age of puberty and upwards and confidence among growing girls and also general perceptions of gender. It facilitates change by making people think of the phrase doing things ‘like a girl’ and making it positive and empowering rather than an insult.
- Instituteforpr.org. (2018). Always #LikeAGirl: Turning an Insult into a Confidence Movement. [online] Available at: https://instituteforpr.org/wp-content/uploads/Always-LikeAGirl-Turning-an-Insult-into-a-Confidence-Movement.pdf.
2. D&AD. (2018). Case Study: Always #LikeAGirl. [online] Available at: https://www.dandad.org/en/d-ad-always-like-a-girl-campaign-case-study-insights/.
3. Vagianos, A. (2016). The Reaction To #LikeAGirl Is Exactly Why It’s So Important. [online] HuffPost Australia. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/why-like-a-girl-is-so-important_n_6598970.
4. Ledbetter, D. (2014). #LikeAGirl Campaign Is a Game Changer in Feminist Movement. [online] HuffPost. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-bernice-ledbetter/likeagirl-campaign-is-a-g_b_5578498.html.