After redefining what it means to be #LikeAGirl, P&G’s Always shows how girls are ‘unstoppable’

Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) Always ‘Like A Girl' campaign succeeded at thrusting puberty’s profound impact on girls’ confidence into the media spotlight but it’s not enough and the brand has brought in Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams and TED to inspire a positive solution.

How do you elevate a concept that has already been seen by 90 million people and generated 12 billion impressions worldwide? P&G’s answer is to translate Always’ focus on female confidence into a worldwide call for them to become unstoppable at whatever they choose to do.

To support that next step, Williams, the 18-year-old star of one of the biggest shows around, has been signed as an advocate to help inspire girls to dispel misconceived gender dynamics. Research, conducted by the business, found that many girls feel they are boxed into expected roles with 72 per cent of the tens of thousands surveyed admitting that they feel society limits them.

This idea of girls being consigned to society’s prescribed boxes is tackled head on in a video (see above) to introduce the brand’s ‘Unstoppable’ theme. Buoyed by its bid to change the meaning of ‘like a girl’ from an insult to a compliment, the video encourages girls to smash limitations, which are visually interpreted as boxes they have stamped with gender misconception they encounter regularly.

The film, directed by award-winning documentary maker Lauren Greenfield, ends with a call for viewers to share how they are unstoppable using the #LikeAGirl hashtag. It will run in over 25 markets and its call to action aims to incite a similar reaction to the original three-minute video last year when celebrity fans including Melinda Gates and Chelsea Clinton tweeted about it.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign yesterday evening (7 July), Roision Donnelly, brand director for Northern Europe at P&G noted some of the girls featured in the video had to be assured that it was ok to smash the boxes. It is indicative of the scale of the challenge P&G’s socially conscious advertising faces in building the self-esteem of girls globally and is why TED has been brought on board to pivot part of the communications strategy to education rather than awareness.

The global non-profit channel will host Always-branded content that teaches confidence to young girls in the hope of changing their deep-rooted acceptance of certain gender dynamics. Content will be hosted on the Ted-Ed educational platform where viewers will be encouraged to share them and the lessons they have learned.

Additionally, Always is working with educational organisations around the world to update Always-backed programme for puberty that is used in schools.

“You would expect that girls believe things will get better but, in fact, our latest research shows that one in two girls think that in 10 years there will be the same or even more limitations for young girls,” said P&G’s vice president of global feminine care Fama Francisco. “This surprising statistic is a wake-up call for all of us to encourage girls to smash any limitations that hold them back and empower them to be unstoppable.”

The FMCG business surveyed 1,441 young people aged between 16 and 24 in the UK and 1,800 Americans in the latest phase of its “Always Confidence and Puberty” study. Most (84 per cent) girls in the UK admitted they felt that society puts them into “boxes” and that this has a negative impact on their lives. Seven in ten respondents (69 per cent) believe that girls’ lives would be better if society stopped pressuring them.

Donnelly said the latest phase of activity would revolve more around trying to get people to change dated views like “girls can’t be brave” and girls aren’t strong”.

Last year’s film (see above) became a viral hit and helped change the image of the Always brand by imbuing it with a purpose. Such was the success that P&G splurged on a Super Bowl slot in February for the ad – the first time a feminine hygiene brand had run during the match. Some 76 per cent of the women and more than half (59 per cent) of the men who watched the ad said their perception of the phrase “Like a Girl” had changed, according to P&G.

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Seb Joseph

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