Latest Always #LikeAGirl ad says emojis are limiting girls and calls for ‘unstoppable’ representation

Always has released the latest phase of its award-winning #LikeAGirl campaign, which takes a critical look at the "shocking" way young women are represented by emojis.

Building on previous iterations, the ad once again shines a spotlight on the confidence issues faced by girls entering puberty and looks to inspire a positive change.

The film uses real interviews to highlight the fact that 81 per cent of females aged 16 to 24 use emojis on a daily basis, and calls for one of the world’s fastest-growing ‘languages’ to stop reducing them to stereotypes and start making icons that are as “unstoppable as the girls they represent".

From characters playing princess, to cartoons adorning a bridal veil or dancing around in bunny ears, the ad notes that emojis fail to celebrate female achievement and instead reinforce the societal limitations faced by girls in real life.

As with its other #LikeAGirl movies, the Procter and Gamble-owned brand enlisted a series of young women of varying ages and backgrounds and asked them about their experiences using emojis, and whether they felt the options available to them reflected "who they really were".

"They're all mainly pink," notes one of the girls perusing emojis on her phone, as another adds "there are no girls in the professional emojis - unless you count being a bride as a profession…”

Once again, Leo Burnett is the creative force behind the two and a half-minute long spot. This time around, the feminine care company also partnered with Pulse films documentary maker Lucy Walker to bring the concept to life.

Tapping into the current buzz around emoji-speak, the film was made following research by Always which indicated that 70 per cent of young women would like to see female emoticons portrayed more progressively; depicting professions such as lawyers or partaking in activities like wrestling and weight lifting.

In keeping with the theme of the series, the most recent iteration centres around the fact that during puberty young women experience a drop in confidence, and that helping to combat this is a social responsibility.

Always’ ‘Puberty and Confidence Wave IV’ study found also found that almost half of young women (46 per cent) felt there were not enough female emojis, while 71 per cent admitted to using the language multiple times a day.

“The girls in emojis only wear pink, are princesses or dancing bunnies, do their nails and their hair, and that’s about it. No other activities, no sports, no jobs… the realisation is shocking,” said Michele Baeten, associate brand director and Always #LikeAGirl leader at Procter & Gamble.

“Of course, societal limitations are broader than just emojis, but when we realised that stereotypical, limiting messages are hiding in places as innocent as emojis, it motivated us to demand change. Girls are downright amazing, and we won’t stop fighting all the limitations and knocks in confidence they experience at puberty until every girl feels unstoppable,” she added.

To date, the original #LikeAGirl campaign has been seen by over 90 million people and generated more than 12 billion impressions worldwide. The brand brought on board Game of Thrones' star Masie Williams to front the follow-up film, 'Unstoppable', back in July 2015, urging viewers to ditch the outdated views that "girls can't be brave" and "girls aren't strong".

Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is The Drum's breaking news and social media reporter, covering how brands and media companies are using platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and beyond.

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