#LikeAGirl, is not an abuse

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By Priyanka Nair Posted on : 08 Jul 2014 05:13 pm

MUMBAI: ‘Like A Girl.’ When did those three words become an insult?  

This thought provoking question has been floating on various social media platforms for a couple of weeks now. Thanks to Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) new campaign, this thought is being heard loud and clear across the globe.

The campaign which has different phases on digital is supported with a power packed video filmed by P&G’s ‘Always’, a leader in feminine hygiene products with a market valuation of $3.4 billion.

Though the film might appear to look just like many other feminist-themed videos, there is a lot that it brings across the table. As part of the campaign, ‘Always’ has partnered with award-winning documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield to conduct a social experiment to illustrate how people of all ages interpret the phrase ‘Like A Girl.’

Wondering why this campaign?

On the official YouTube channel of P&G Lauren Greenfield, filmmaker and director of the #LikeAGirl video explained, "In my work as a documentarian, I have witnessed the confidence crisis among girls and the negative impact of stereotypes first-hand. When the words 'Like A Girl' are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering. I am proud to partner with ‘Always’ to shed light on how this simple phrase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women. I am excited to be a part of the movement to redefine 'Like A Girl' into a positive affirmation."

The video has already been viewed over 29 million times on YouTube, shared approximately 300,000 times on Facebook and tweeted around 40,000 times on Twitter. According to various media reports, P&G spends about $10 billion annually on marketing in the US. Of this, 25-35 per cent is spent on digital.

This percentage of digital spends will soon get somewhere near in an emerging market like India. Last year P&G's Pantene released a digital video which was also championed by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg who showed how the same behaviour by men and women is viewed differently by the society.

With this campaign from ‘Always’, the company is taking a step further to strike social conversations and impressions for a good change.

Click here to watch the campaign

We at Indiantelevision.com, asked Indian creative fraternity of the challenges of creating campaigns on the digital platform and how much did the ‘Always’ campaign touch their hearts. 

“It is a brilliant effort“

According to Bang in the Middle managing partner and chief creative officer Prathap Suthan this particular campaign from P&G, shows how major advertisers in the world look at the criticality and importance of the digital space. And as usual, focus is in on universal insight.

“The fact that physical weakness is often attributed to ‘being a girl quality.’ It pries open a lot of areas. It opens up a conversation into giving girls more liberty, comfort, reality, and empowerment. It is a brilliant effort. It squashes down on the global habit of seeing a girl's natural and general lack of brawn as deficiency. Instead, the campaign applauds the differences, caliber, mettle and a whole lot superior attributes that only women possess.”

According Suthan the campaign hits the right chord. “It's a truth. Every girl, woman, daughter, mother, sister, aunt etc. will relate to it and so will all the men, especially fathers. I think it radiates a lot of optimism, positivity and reinforces confidence.  #LikeAGirl is one of the most common insults and demeaning expressions that have been going around until now. It has been used to not just debase and abuse women, but also used as an expression that's widely used to lash out at boys and men when they don't physically and even mentally push the bar,” says Suthan.

With #LikeAGirl now trending across the world, and with every woman synching with the thought, hopefully this will initiate and propel a movement to help women across the world gain even more confidence, stature, self-esteem and happiness mentions Suthan.  “We need that for a better, healthier and more peaceful world,” he says.  

Origin Beanstalk co-Founder Upendra Singh Thakur thinks in India, discrimination against girls starts at birth. It is way beyond than just making fun of ‘being like a girl’. “However, keeping the affluent consumer in mind that the brand caters to and the notion of silly being associated with girls, to me the brand has definitely hit the right chord and really made us think that in many ways, jokingly, we do tend to discriminate even though we don’t realise it,” says Thakur.

“If you are not creative on digital then it is criminal”

Curry Nation founder Priti Nair believes in the above statement. She says, “It is not being creative that is a challenge on digital, but it is how much more creative can you be. That is the real challenge. It is not your typical 30 seconder shot on location or set. It is an audition and the audition is the advertisement.”

“In the #LikeAGirl campaign everything lies in the music and the casting. It takes you through an emotional graph. I think it is really insightful and I love the way it is connected to the product. Most of the times you have lofty philosophical stuff floating for causes that does not really have any connection to the brand. But to connect confidence ebb and fall with puberty is excellent and also true. It is good to know that someone is thinking harder,” opines Nair.

Infectious director Nisha Singhania has similar thoughts about the campaign. She believes, “#LikeAGirl taps into a fantastic insight on how without realising it, we create norms on how girls and boys are supposed to behave. Often I've heard boys being told to stop behaving 'like a girl' as if it was an insult.” Since most clients want the campaign to go 'viral' Singhania thinks they buy braver work for the digital medium. 

“How I wish, this gets translated into different languages. Or it needs a global version with multi-cultural and multi-ethnic representation. There's so much truth going waste otherwise,” concludes Suthan.

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