Have you seen this American campaign for Always Sanitary Towels? Maybe some of our US based clients have, if so we’d welcome your comments. Certainly the word on the street is that although the campaign is in its relatively early days, it’s starting to pervade the consciousness of American society by offering up a real polemic that could in turn effect behavioural change to a normalisation of female stereotyping compared to boys.
It focuses on puberty (and yes, there is a product to sell behind this so the thinking is all the more clever – because this is a time when young women are going to make a new and important brand choice that might well lead to a significant lifetime value).
But this is far from a cheap gimmick; P&G has extended this platform beyond TV advertising and into partnering with TED talks to broaden the debate about this now wholly embedded US national prejudice/disempowerment. OK, US, but this could be applied to virtually the entire western world, so it has real legs; rather like what rival brand owner Unilever has done globally for beauty stereotyping with Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign.
So last year, Almost debuted with a spot that featured a child psychologist asking a succession of young girls. “Show me what it looks like to run like/fight like/throw like a girl.’’ This tees up a variety of inept demonstrations of athletic prowess from her young subjects.
Almost has taken it upon themselves to put this prejudice in the spotlight and hold a mirror up to not just their target audience, pre-pubescent American girls, but their fathers, brothers and teachers. As their YouTube post description says ‘72% of girls DO feel society limits them – especially during puberty – a time when their confidence totally plummets. Always is on an epic battle to keep girls’ confidence high during puberty and beyond!’
“When the words ‘like a girl’ are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering” says Lauren Greenfield, who directed the spot.
Here’s a snapshot of its impact on the vernacular during the Women’s World Cup final as the USA team demonstrated that the female game is every bit as compelling as the male version…
You’ll notice that most of these comments are made by men.
And today saw the launch of stage two, in which the campaign even more overtly draws on the deeper prejudices built into our psyches (and let’s be honest, this includes males and females alike).
Of course, in Britain, we deal with unspeakable subjects (although not exactly prejudices) in a slightly different way, as Pampers – also P&G owned – demonstrates with its ‘Pooface’ campaign by Saatchi’s.