/ The Rise of Girl Power Ads

It seems Q2 marked the dawn of “girl power” ads— what I like to call commercials with thought-provoking messages that empower females and change the forever-pink and flowery stereotypes.

According to DoSomething.org, 7 in 10 teenage girls believe they don’t measure up to others in areas such as looks, relationships and scholarly performance. We all understand that when young women hit puberty, hormones go into hyper drive, causing changes in their bodies and attitudes. They are unsure of themselves and uncertain about how others perceive them.

The old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” couldn’t ring more true, and now we have video as a tool to help with the process (which is a great thing). The following three videos encourage young women to be steadfast in pursuing education, developing positive relationships and defying negative stereotypes.

#LikeAGirl (Always)

In the past, doing something “like a girl” meant that someone performed with weakness or fragility. It was a negative connotation to say someone ran, fought, swung, kicked, hit—did anything— like a girl. Until now.

Always, a Procter & Gamble brand known for their feminine hygiene products, created the #LikeAGirl video campaign that addresses female self-esteem. Always asked young women (past the stage of puberty), boys and men what it meant to do something “like a girl.” They respond with dainty, dramatic gestures. When they asked young prepubescent girls to do the same, they reacted with confidence, force and determination.

It’s up to us to tell young women that it’s okay to do things “like a girl,” with a sense of confidence, pride and encouragement. The creators of this ad effectively communicated that all genders should quit using “like a girl” in a negative way.

#SorryNotSorry (Pantene)

As a woman, I always notice other women (including myself) over-apologizing. We seem to replace “excuse me” with “sorry” as a qualifier, which makes women look weak. This reinforces the dainty, fragile stereotype many of us accidentally embrace.

Pantene created this campaign to bring the way we use “sorry” to the forefront, showing us that we should stop apologizing for things that don’t deserve apologies. This should kick-start a positive, confident mindfulness for women (and maybe some men). Ever since my colleagues and I saw this video, we’ve been more mindful about the ways in which we use “sorry.”

This campaign isn’t a way to advertise hair products or drive sales conversions (though there are countless links to product pages); it is a way to invite women to be, perhaps, “stronger than their hair.” Pantene is strengthening their digital brand image as more and more women are engaged through this campaign online and in the media.

#InspireHerMind (Verizon)

People wonder why it’s a running joke in Silicon Valley that there are hardly any women. Verizon tells us the reason why. The telecom provider declares that “66% of fourth grade girls say they like science and math”, yet “only 18% of all college engineering majors are female.” Tech companies are addressing this disparity and are working to change it (slowly but surely).

This video follows Samantha, a girl curious about science, space and technology. Throughout her childhood and teen years, she’s told not to dirty her dress and that her science project has gotten too “out of hand.” Since she’s told not to embrace be curious about science and math over and over, you can see she might be turning away from them (applying lip gloss in the reflection of bulletin board glass).

The Future of Video Girl Power

For years to come, we can effectively empower young women with positive videos. We can teach prepubescent girls how to become more confident and make the most of their differences. We can help them grow into better adults who can run, swim, bike, and trek past gender stereotypes that may stand in their way.

Which will be the next brand to step up to the plate?

About Christine Borkowski

Christine Borkowski is the Digital Marketing Lead at STC New York, specializing in digital media. She's seen award-winning projects through from brainstorm to execution working with clients like Accenture, Voss Foundation and Activision. She's a city-loving beach bum whose interests include tech, music and comedy. Marketing communications piqued Christine's endless curiosity at James Madison University (Go Dukes!). Twitter: @Chrissy_Cecilia
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