American Girl calls for female unity as brand freshens its image

30-year-old doll brand American Girl has released an integrated campaign that aims to bring girls together and celebrate their collective power.

The move comes at a time when many brands, including Dove, Always, and Under Armour, are using female empowerment themes in their advertising efforts. American Girl wanted to create something that reaffirmed its status as a ‘girl brand’ while coming up with a unique angle instead of just rejoining the conversation.

To do that, Publicis Seattle worked with the brand to create a national campaign that celebrates what girls can do when they come together and support one another instead of focusing on the power of the individual.

The agency created a video called ‘The Pledge’ (see above) that features girls of all ages doing a number of activities. Some are playing dress up, some are preparing for a big game, while others are goofing around at a sleepover or taking a walk outside.

At the beginning, a little girl says, “I pledge my strength to the team of girls and girlhood everywhere, and to the brilliance and bravery for which we stand,” and she is joined at the end by others when she states “I pledge my voice to millions and millions of one in a million girls.”

The brand is hoping that the video drives home the message that despite the differences between girls, their girlhood brings them together as an unstoppable force. Online, girls can go to the brand’s site and make a personalized pledge of their own.

Britt Fero, head of strategy at Publicis Seattle, told The Drum that the idea for the campaign stemmed from research that found that even as girls become more empowered, many report feeling alone.

“We found this interesting dilemma that as we continue to build girls up individually, they are feeling increasingly isolated,” she said. “What if we could show them that there was strength in empathy and get them to look to one another and find strength?”

Julia Prohaska, senior director of global brand at American Girl, added that the campaign is less of a repositioning and more of a reassertion.

“I think it’s going to create an opportunity for consumers to reassess the brand and look at us in a new light,” she said.

Aside from its advertising efforts, American Girl is also moving into new categories as it hopes to become more of a lifestyle brand for both girls and their moms instead of just a doll company.

The brand is expanding its craft and personal care lines and is slated to launch a program with Williams-Sonoma that will offer cooking and baking classes.

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Minda Smiley

Minda Smiley is a reporter at The Drum covering creativity and advertising. Based in Philadelphia, she primarily covers independent agencies and B2B marketing. She also oversees The Drum’s “Independent Influence,” a weekly series that spotlights the work, perspectives and inspirations behind independent agencies. During her time at The Drum, she has covered industry events including SXSW, ANA Masters of Marketing, 4A’s Transformation and C2 Montréal. She is a graduate of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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