Screen Shot 2019-03-03 at 8.45.11 pm.png

uni brain

love letters

Always #LikeAGirl

We have become immune to the derogatory term doing things ‘like a girl’, and have forgotten the empowering essence it once represented. You’d think as a society, we’d have been past all the sexist, misogynistic haters of this world. As soon as women feel they are free, there are terms negatively geared towards the very strength they possess and all they have achieved thus far in life.  We have this innate desire to belong; to be accepted and praised by fellow human beings. To be made to feel attractive and wanted; to be made to feel like we are important and worthy. This foundation of thought regarding gender stereotypes is developed from a very young age and can be detrimental to their well-being unless targeted in a bright and positive manner. Always #LikeAGirl speaks truths and further whispers the destructive connotations a simple slanged phrase #LikeaGirl can have on a young female adolescent, ultimately destroying her future into womanhood. It sends a clear statement that this term is not to be messed and joshed with, but rather praised and regarded highly when referencing half of the population. This campaign has been simply and beautifully destructive through powerful storytelling, unlocking an emotional response from both sides of the fence. It enables and natural siding with Always, encouraging positive engagement, social shifts and action, cultural change, ethical support and acknowledgement, environmental outlooks and sustainable practices to be thought about throughout all facets of their campaign. Everyone is running this race together. Young woman need reinforced confidants that preach and protect their inner girl, allowing them to grow to be destructive women of this world.

Gender discrimination against girls and women is prominent across the world and naturally trickles into all walks of their lives. Women equate to almost half of the population, but still manage to be made to feel vulnerable and inferior in many male dominant scenarios. “Always empowers women to live life without limits through trusted feminine hygiene products and puberty education.”  Always have creatively broken the stigma surrounding girl’s capabilities, as they “encourage girls everywhere to embrace failure as fuel to build the confidence and Keep Going #LikeAGirl” (Always, 2018) The brand has destructively referenced and altered the intricacies of their audience. On an even deeper level, have targeted the struggles they encounter, especially those mirroring the cultural fabric of the time. On June 26, 2014 girls across the world became equated with one of the most encouraging campaigns to date. The phrase “Like A Girl” was to be shifted back to in-situ and allow girls to walk their courageous path through puberty (Meh, 2015). The first minute-long ad had a background of asking over 250 people what it meant to do things “Like A Girl” with the results being devastatingly consistent. The advertisement displayed girls being asked to act out different scenarios (e.g. run, fight, kick) “like a girl” and coloured the degrading nature this term has now become (Huffpost, 2016).

Older participants of both genders as well as young boys were happy to insult the phrase and prance about, running or fighting “like a girl” in a half-hearted way. Young girls, however, had not fallen yet to such negative destruction (Greenfield, 2014). Always have understood, clearly researched and based their campaign on fact and not assumptions. They are selling the ‘why’. “Disruption does not disrupt brands, it disrupts conventions” (Dru, 1996, pp 67-78). They have critically evaluated how to emotionally touch a large target audience and make this campaign’s message a viral statement to empower young girl’s globally for generations to come. These transformations and their successes have been possible only because of leaders who were able to foresee how the company could leverage its strengths as markets changed (O’Reilly, 2016, pp 7-9). The director of the film #LikeAGirl Lauren Greenfield states that disrupting the minds of her viewers is the main objective, “My work is often about deconstructing the ordinary and examining the things we take for granted, which, on most days, we don’t even see or notice” (Greenfield, 2014).This campaigns structure leaves a lump in your throat and an overarching warmth to doing things #LikeAGirl in a bold and powerful way (Hubspot, 2018). A cautionary tale, activating resilience.

Young girls often suffer in silence when the taboo of discussing periods is not favoured upon in public. Always developed a global cultural influence surrounding the destruction of embarrassing period conversing and advertisements to rather transform this taboo and simultaneously transform gender stereotypes for girls. Research has shown that women were fed up with stereotypical advertisements surrounding sanitary care and hygiene (Coscia, 2015). Always needed to creatively reconstruct and reframe their brand in order to authentically pose a new light on their business model and practices (Dru, 1996, pp 67-78). ‘Nobody will ever share anything that has the Always logo on it’ (Campaign ,2015). It needed to be about more than product communication and protection. They created movement in the culture of advertising. As quoted by Yannick Bollore, Chairman and CEO, Havas Group “It’s no longer enough to produce products that work. Brands need to know why people care, and what makes their brands meaningful” (Thompson, 2018, slide 15) Always had to signify its meaningful love for women. Puberty is factually the most vulnerable phase in a woman’s life. The drop in confidence is twice as severe for girls as it is boys (Huffpost, 2016). Always needed to holistically understand these measures to be a key vehicle in shifting their campaign perception (O’Reilly, 2016, pp 7-9). “Changing the negative meaning of a sexist expression was a powerful idea. It may seem like an insignificant thing. But at a moment when identities are already very fragile, words can have a devastating effect” (Marketing week, 2015). A dynamic campaign, changing the conversation from slandering women to entrusting thoughts of determined young women.

Finding an emotional connection and authenticity in similarities of human nature is the very thing keeping the audience intrigued habitually during advertisements. It is how we engage on a deeper level. Lauren Greenfield notes,“ The reason people have connected to it – lies in the fact that we start out laughing but end up crying. The imitations are funny and silly and culturally recognisable, and yet the true meaning has deep implications for at least half of our world.” (Greenfield, 2014) Always were facing triumph from successful competitors in the face of young women’s ongoing brand engagement between 16-24 years. Engagement through social media was the lasting connection Always needed in order to secure the young hearts and minds of girls around the world (Campaign, 2015). Always powerfully met all four objectives to determine success: ‘it drove relevance with an emotional connection; it drove popularity through top of mind awareness; increased penetration; and created dramatic cultural change’ (Campaign, 2015). To drive audience engagement, the hashtag #LikeaGirl was encouraging a call to action among women via tweeting in incredible things they do ‘#LikeAGirl’. As well as creating a #LikaAGirl page, having a hosted, to act as a campaign hub with a team ready to respond in real-time throughout the launch (Marketing week, 2015). Always’ bold message reached global awareness, captivating the eyes of over 90m online, across over 150 countries, rated number two viral video globally. It gained a lot of unprecedented media coverage, 1100 to be exact and over 4.4 billion media impressions in the first three months. (Campaign, 2015).

The results continued to astonish all involved in the campaign. Top of mind awareness increased drastically from 77% to 83% amongst rep and 49% to 58% amongst their target audience of 16 to 24-year-olds in the US. There were 177,000 #LikeAGirl tweets in the first 3 months, including many celebrities, with Always Twitter followers tripling in the first 3 months. The campaign had over 1 million shares on Facebook by Day 28 and an engagement rate of over 2x the target audience. Always even managed to grow their Youtube channel subscribers by 4,339%. The #LikeAGirl program had over 35,000 comments in the first three months and a total of 4,500 pieces of user-generated content, reacting to the campaign. They needed a bigger platform to share this campaign. Always had been so experimental in their approach, it was then ranked as the most popular digital campaign of the Super Bowl (Dandad, 2018). Always and 15-year-old brand ambassador Karlie Harman (a female quarterback who plays #LikeAGirl, instilling courage in girls around the world) had a live #LikeAGirl activation from the Super Bowl, with 4 on-site videos and 19 interviews (Institute, 2015) Always Pads Equity increased from 38.1 to 41.4 in the US, while previously successful competitors noticed slight declines. In Google’s Brand Lift study, the advertisement scored outstanding on Ad Recall, classing #LikeAGirl amongst the elite in Google’s database (Marketing society, 2015). The campaign reached new and heightened measures of success, proving that authenticity and emotional engagement creates for appealing and indulging advertisements for the audience.

The penetration of this campaign was truly infectious, with girls around the world shifting the social stigma to a heightened unlock of feminine power. "There was a clear consensus for the Grand Prix," said Ms Davis. "It marries brand purpose with commercial [purpose]…No generation will ever look at 'Like a Girl' as anything other than something to be proud of. It has the power to change the world", said Lynne Anne Davis, PR jury president and senior partner for Asia Pacific region (AdAge, 2015). The hype and involvement of the #LikeAGirl movement created widespread change in the social sphere. Prior to viewing the campaign, only 19% of 16-24-year-olds had a positive association toward the phrase ‘Like a girl’. Post-viewing, however, 76% remarked that they no longer saw the phrase in a negative manner. Simultaneously so, two out of three men and young boys also exclaimed that post-viewing allowed them to reflect and think twice before using ‘like a girl’ as an insult (Marketing week, 2015). Creativity and design have long been asking questions referring to social responsibility. ‘Nudge theory is a powerful tactic that proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions to try to achieve non-forced compliance to influence the motives, incentives and design making of groups and individuals’ (Brooker, 2018, slide 26). It is a destructive tool, in which as used correctly by Always, can redefine societies conventions. Always enabled the audience to forgo previous stereotypes and make way for new reflections of young girls. The influence grows from the pubescent vulnerable sphere. As evident in the campaign, the unknowingly sanguine young girls have proven to not having yet fallen into societal stereotypes. This change has targeted the younger generation before social norms infiltrate their delicate minds.

Society shapes our culture to which without we would all merely be symmetrical. Little girls are now teaching us how to do things like girls the right way. They have encouraged society to recreate cultural habits and adopt change. The campaign unleashed further cultural feminism. It has been stated as a symbol of female empowerment across the world. The UN has specifically acknowledged the impact of #LikeAGirl and in March 2015 Always were granted an award for the destructive influence it had on female empowerment globally (Campaign, 2015).  As hashtags and videos referencing #LikeAGirl persisted, Always developed a self-esteem summit. The summit commenced July 2015 in 10 major cities around the world. It pressed the importance of educating women to become and continue to be leaders in anything they attempt. It focused on the dire need to be confident in themselves during times of strain, stress and discomfort with oneself (Meh, 2015). Feminism is no longer deemed a ‘dirty’ word and thus societal discrimination has essentially rebirthed a stronger female culture (Marketing society, 2015). Social media platforms like Twitter, Youtube and Facebook became a cultural trend among girls and women. A haven in which they could discuss similar beliefs, reflect on similar values and share how they are breaking stereotypes and destroying boundaries and imperfections.

The unwritten rules in life and actions taken accompanying that often define us best. Ethical standards pertaining Always, reflect every element of their #LikeAGirl campaign. Their brand values align with the key purpose they stand for; letting the notion of women’s confidence rule the world. Judy John, Chief Executive Officer/ Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett Canada states, “We set out to champion the girls who were the future of the brand” (Dandad, 2018). They understood the power of the people in helping bring this idea to life. This film is a key insight into the weight creativity carries. As Judy John beautifully puts it, “People connect with and buy the brands they share similar points of view or values they have. These brands have big ambitions and they make a positive and emotional connection with their consumers” (Dandad, 2018). The ad takes personal morals and redefines ethics in advertising. Upon asking 250 people what it meant to do things “like a girl”, they had to ensure they were to remain authentic in their process. “ That moment of realisation – when the women and men in our film suddenly understood that they had been sucked into this cultural cliché – is magical to witness because the viewer also gets to experience it at the same time” (Greenfield, 2014). All viewers internal moral compasses are deliberating what they would do if asked. They are welcomed to free their minds and re-explore their interpretation. It illuminates the very thing we fear; being wrong and hurting others.

To create an environment that supports both cultural and social change in an exhilarating manner is a stern push towards a more successful future. All considerations were met and addressed prior to the commencement of the social experiment. It was a safe and monitored studio space that allowed for authentic responses. It was a minimalistic set that nurtured the participant’s responses for the audience to deeply feel. Thus the need for props, equipment and lighting was minimal (Greenfield, 2014). The brand itself is promoting social change and empowerment and so being a sanitary brand can equate to a damaged environment. The average women approximately endure 456 total periods over 38 years or approximately 6.25 years of her life. At 20 tampons and around 5 pads per cycle over 9,120 tampons and 2,280 pads are used in a woman’s lifetime (Wilson, 2018, slide 27). Always are considerate in every step of their consumer’s journey and the products life. They carefully choose the right materials, make wise decisions about the energy used, and ultimately minimise waste by educating consumers on disposal’ (Procter and Gamble, 2018). They are setting a benchmark that influences competitors to minimise their impact on the planet too.

Always have consistently managed to create and develop a sustainable garden bed for women’s confidence to flourish and shine globally. Always addresses consumer needs and safety, the environmental factors associated with sanitary production and their deep need for caring about women and girls all over the world (Procter and Gamble, 2018). They have a sustainable long-term goal of powering all facilities with 100% renewable energy and using 100% renewable or recycled materials for both sanitary products and their packaging. Always have 8 of their 10 plants at zero waste and instead convert it into reusable energy for manufacturing. Always have a strong goal and determined business strategy to meet zero waste in manufacturing plants for the near future (Procter and Gamble, 2018). As well as environmental business practices, Always have sustainable educational factors and strategies they consider for girls around the world needing it most. Always have partnered with just over 30 organisations that help to serve and attend to girls in need around the globe. For over 10 years, 70 million pads have been distributed to girls around 45 countries in need of care and dignity during their menstrual cycle (Procter and Gamble, 2018). Accompanying both elements, it is evident Always have considered it to be detrimental to attempt to be sustainable in all dimensions of the business.

To be creative and destructive is to be wise and influential. Always have broken the boundaries of creativity, leading success and empowerment across advertising. It is crucial to consider the many spheres that accompany global destruction and the impact it creates for future generations. Always have holistically and sophisticatedly encouraged momentous change from young boys to older men and women. It is a movement that regenerates with every conversation. It fuels the desire to want to do more for our women of the world. A social leap, employing confidence for young girls. A cultural regrowth of feminism. An engaging story of authentic responses from regular individuals. An ethical approach and response for the advertising industry. An environmentally friendly brand that carries a positive footprint globally. Always is a sustainable talking point for many generations to come. It offers purpose and hope for our world. Every day, getting up and doing things #LikeAGirl is changing the world.

Reflective Statement

From a very young age, I believed to be doing courageous things #LikeAGirl. Having an older brother can influence your mannerisms, your train of thought and your internal ambitions. I never regarded myself as being weaker or less superior than my brother, even though I was several inches smaller and 2 years younger. I would join in on every wrestle, and every conversation. I didn’t even second guess if I was capable.

Confidence is something I pride myself on. I have always preached storytelling being the universal language we go through the world with and the power it possesses towards human emotions. Always as a brand aligns with my morals so harmoniously. They strive for positive impact in crucial matters that inspire change. For the last year, I have been an Ambassador for the non-for-profit, One Girl. They are empowering girls through education; the essence and very notion of being able to change the world.

Lauren Greenfield, Director of the #LikeAGirl campaign is an inspiring force that has recently lead me to view the world differently. She has unlocked a new fire in my brain that craves the power of story through advertising. The campaign really allowed for personal reflection on my values as a human. It offers insight into how powerful social compliance can be and the power you have to make drastic and beautiful long-lasting impact across the world.

I aspire to be a digital storyteller sharing stories that spread global engagement and stress the innate need for positive progress in this world. This project was a great test of my talent as a communicator. Being an extensively long essay allowed me to embrace deeper insight and expansion of my capabilities and vocabulary. I really enjoyed the nature of this project and its newfound perception it has given me towards gender stereotyping and female empowerment. The beginning is never easy. When you are on a roll, however, it is quite a powerful force not to be reckoned with.  This project has instilled just how incredible destruction can be. Our world is only getting more manipulated and deceived. We, however, are the ones that understand authentic messaging can and will influence on a global scale.

Reference list:



Rebecca Wilson