Always :: Like A Girl

The latest ad campaign #likeagirl by Always has gone viral by investigating why women lose confidence after puberty and re-defining the common insult “like a girl” into a message of female empowerment. In the ad, men, women, adolescent boys and girls are asked to demonstrate how to “run like a girl,” “fight like a girl” and “throw like a girl.” The response isn’t shocking. However, when a young girl is asked to demonstrate the same activities the mood shifts. She runs as fast as she can, she hits as hard as her fists will allow and she re-defines what “like a girl” means to women everywhere, forever. This isn’t the first girl power centric ad from Procter & Gamble this year. Nevertheless, P&G are leading the charge as an example of how brands can move away from being cultural icons to social beacons. The super-brand has launched campaigns across their range of products like the Pantene #shinestrong campaign which questions how women are unfairly perceived in the workplace and the Cover Girl #girlscan movement that interrogates women’s role in society. Procter & Gamble was founded in 1837 as a soap and candle company. During America’s Civil War P&G were contracted to supply soap and candles to Union armies, solidifying them as an all American brand. Throughout the company’s long history what has defined its success is an ability to understand and answer consumer needs. Fast forward to 2014, consumer needs are no longer tangible product solutions but societal shifts and statements. We don’t need more beauty products, we need to feel as if our consumer choices reflect wider growth and change in the world around us.  Understanding this, P&G have used their products to propel causes into public forum. However, the debate is still divided when it comes to brands’ motives with statements like, “feminists can wear makeup but makeup can’t wear feminism” from respected social commentators like Mic. So is it all just a marketing ploy or do brands actually care? Put simply, it’s both. Rallying behind a cause like feminism opens up a diverse and practically untapped audience that is active on social media and likely to share relevant and empowering messages across their networks, allowing content to go viral. While it is somewhat ironic that makeup brands – which prevail on unattainable societal beauty standards – are marketing messages of female empowerment, would the world really be a better place if they didn’t? Let’s face it, makeup isn’t going away and neither is scented shampoo that promises strong shiny hair to envy a unicorn’s mane. But that doesn’t mean brands can’t empower people to challenge gender stereotypes (or other social issues) while they’re in the beauty aisle. What’s the alternative? We’ve already seen how brands can perpetuate gender stereotypes, create unattainable computer generated beauty standards and get just plain gross. What would the world look like if adverts purveyed values instead of products, shattered stereotypes and produced positive messages? My guess is, a whole lot prettier. :: Brand Building at LBB Pop-Up School // Monday 21 July, 2014 // 19:30–21:30 // £35 // Bootstrap Company, The Print House, E8 3DL // BOOK TICKETS]]>

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