A creative brand 'movement' or reinforcing an old stereotype? #likeagirl part two

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 11 March 2015
Advertising can be good for the soul - and the economy like Always' "Like a Girl" campaign.

The hugely popular #likeagirl campaign for Procter and Gamble's feminine hygiene brand, Always, clocked up more than 50 million views worldwide, but now it's time to see if its sequel will hit the same global pulse point and go viral.

Part two, called 'Stronger Together', was launched just before International Women’s Day, and is being plugged as the next iteration of the #likeagirl movement, with clips of girls doing amazing things in the name of the cause.

So far, it has just shy of 200,000 YouTube views since being published last week. But does it have the ability to go viral? Ensemble senior creative and head of SheSays Sydney, Yasmin Quemard, told AdNews she thinks the campaign could be the next Dove 'Real Beauty' in terms of influence.

“I had deja vu because it has potential to be a Dove 'Real Beauty', but for a younger audience, if they can continue to tap into the issues that young girls and young women face,” Quemard said.

“The first campaign just really set the scene. They landed the point so well in the first iteration, so that will be the challenge of the second one.”

M&C Saatchi creative director Andy Flemming agreed that the campaign is as “significant as Dove 'Real Beauty'”.

“The #likeagirl launch commercial ran in the Superbowl, not because women would watch it, but because men would watch it. Think about that,” Flemming said.

“The phrase ‘Like a girl’ is arguably stage one of a multiple stage process of subjugation, and that’s why the #likeagirl campaign is as significant as Dove ‘Real Beauty'.”

In terms of the campaign having a second iteration, most creatives agreed it was to be expected. The Hallway creative partner Simon Lee said whether or not the campaign will go as viral as the first one, in a world where viral can be bought “to a certain extent”, will depend on the media budget.

“The initial execution ended with a call to action to join Always in 'championing girl's confidence', thereby marking the beginnings of what Proctor and Gamble are no doubt banking on becoming a 'movement',”Lee said.

“It is no surprise to see them following up with an execution that updates us on the progress of this movement, telling us that 'millions of girls' are apparently 'rising all around the world'.

“Will it help girls not to lose self-confidence during puberty? As a father with daughters, I'd love it if it could, but I doubt that it can.”

McCann Sydney executive creative director Dejan Rasic said the campaign definitely has “enough in it to keep going for a while”.

“There have been a few female empowerment campaigns flying around lately,” Rasic said. “Some have tried way too hard, while others have been worthy and schmaltzy. Dove was great and #likeagirl works in a super-simple and authentic way: it literally turns a negative statement into a positive one.”

“It has created interesting stories and conversations and it has been genuinely shared.”

The first part of the campaign, however, has had its fair share of criticism for tapping into a social issue to sell products. 303Lowe CEO Nick Cleaver said that while it “seems” like a worthy cause, it becomes troubling on reflection.

“Is this, in fact, addressing a real issue or actually reinforcing an old stereotype of young women and ironically dragging us back into a sexual stereotyping environment that was resolved a long time ago?” Cleaver asked.

“Do teenage girls suffer from lack of self esteem? Do they see their femininity as a descriptor of a frailer sex? I'm not sure they do.

“For me it makes the brand feel out of touch, all a bit dated, cliched and regrettably retrospective.”

Quemard said that the fact that the Always brand has a digital extension which creates initiatives to support young women is what stops it from being inauthentic, in her eyes.

“When you're wading into solving an issue of the world, I think the advertising has to count by actually having initiatives to address that,” Quemard said.

“If you don't do that, not only do you lose that authenticity of your message, but you lose the credibility with the audience that you've managed to establish and any new potential audience as well.”

Flemming added: “As an industry, we can take partial responsibility for female eating disorders, body image issues and the portrayal of women as either housewives or sex kittens.

“So this is more than necessary, it’s a vaccine.”

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