What can’t you do ‘like a girl’?

 Always, an American based feminine hygiene company owned by Proctor & Gamble (P&G) launched #likeagirl on the 27th June 2014, a social media catalyst.  In its first 10 days, the viral sensation registered 30 million views on YouTube and since its launch, has been shared almost 55 000 times worldwide across a variety of social media channels. The campaign has established Always outside the US.  The brand aims to empower women through dissolving the negative stereotype of doing something ‘like a girl’. Always has certainly achieved this.  The spread of this campaign has been unbelievable. However, I believe the brand is not sufficiently annexed to the campaign.  At no point is the viewer told what the brand does.  Throughout the advertisement, the brand is only mentioned twice, at the halfway point and at the conclusion.  The video goes for 3 minutes in total and I will admit, the first time I watched it I didn’t get to the half way mark.  I found the video too long, repetitive and I couldn’t see the point behind it.  I was bewildered as to what the video was about and who was behind it.  To be successful, an advertisement has to be sufficiently attached to a brand so the consumer knows who’s talking to them. What Always achieved through this video was the opportunity to tell a story, a story relatable to women everywhere.  I found the campaign to have a striking resemblance to Dove’s Real Beauty campaign launched in 2004.  Dove, owned by Unilever, launched Real Beauty with the focus of empowering women through a viral video.  There appears to be a strong trend with this style of video at the moment, particularly since the adoption of the hashtag.  Pantene, also owned by P&G launched their “Shine Strong” campaign with a similar message.  The first #shinestrong video was launched November 10 2013, with a second video launched June 18 2014.  This campaign focuses on empowering women through removing the labels with negative connotations, associated with women.  Another similar campaign is Hello Flo’s “First Moon Party”, following the story of a young female having her first period.  This might be at trend to watch in the near future. What consumers may not realise is a male was quoted in the P&G press release for the launch of #likeagirl.  For a brand so certain on empowering women, shouldn’t they be endorsing the message?  I feel the campaign would be stronger should the brand have demonstrated how they align with the campaign.  As a contrast, it would have been interested should the participants have been asked to do something ‘like a boy’.  The facts underlying in the campaign, such as the start of puberty and the first period mark the lowest points in a girl’s confidence, are based on research by Research Now – sponsored by Always.  However the statistics are insignificant in the message of the advertisement.  Rather it makes the legitimacy of Always questionable. It is possible Always anticipate such wide spread reach from the campaign as they are challenging a long held social standing.  I feel follow up advertisements need to be created that are shorter and annex strongly with the brand to create salience.  Hopefully this is just the start of #likeagirl as Always have formed a strong foundation to build from.  Always have created a social ‘issue’ in that doing something ‘like a girl’ should have positive connotations, this is something the consumer will hold onto.

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