World’s best ads ever #18: Always’ ‘Like a Girl’ turns an insult into a compliment
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
Since its debut in 2014, Always’ ‘Like a Girl’ ad has been widely celebrated for breaking stereotypes and empowering women. To date, the film has more than 70m YouTube hits alone.
Created by Leo Burnett, the thought-provoking three-minute ad challenges what it meant to do something ‘like a girl’ with a casting-style film that sees the director ask kids of different ages to act out what it looked like to them. The resounding feeling was that the phase is often used to poke fun at someone by insinuating they are weaker, over-emotional or not so athletic… and that hit home for a lot of viewers.
A shorter version of the ad ran during Super Bowl 49 and quickly became one of the most talked-about commercials of that year. The day after, Huffington Post proclaimed that the ad “won kudos all over the internet for changing the conversation about what it means to run, throw and do pretty much any activity ‘like a girl’”.
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The film was directed by Lauren Greenfield, who worked alongside Judy John, then Leo Burnett chief creative officer, North America and AJ Hassan, who at the time was vice-president and creative director at Leo Burnett Worldwide. It’s been noted that the team spent 16 hours reviewing the footage and picking the people who would ultimately be in the final spot.
At the time it was also highlighted that the P&G-owned brand decided not to feature its product in the ad, instead adopting an emotional brand message and an almost scientific ‘case study’ approach.
Creatively, it paid off. The Always campaign has since gone on to win 14 Lions at Cannes, was awarded YouTube’s Top Three Ad of the Decade, scooped the Grand Prix for Effectiveness at The Drum Awards, and even won an Emmy.
Throughout the years that have followed since its release, the ad has been shared in 150 countries by millions of people and the hashtag #LikeAGirl is still sparking conversations and showcasing inspiring stories in 2022.