Always fights stereotypes like a girl

Trying to get closer to their youngest target group, Always with Leo Burnet have addressed a serious gender issue. In their campaign #LikeAGirl, they are trying to change the meaning of the phrase “like a girl” from insult to something positive and amazing.

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How it goes, if you address a problem serious enough for your target market, you have half won. Corporate and Brand Social Responsibility has become an important part of nowadays management and Always found a way to incorporate a big social message into its day to day communication. “Brand Social Responsibility fosters psychological connections between consumers and brands that translate into positive consumer responses to the product brand.“ (Grohmann, 2016)

After Always realising they have stayed behind its competitors and that they did not manage to attract the new generation of women, it was time to refocus from its product on the customers. Then the brilliant question appealed “When did doing something “like a girl” became an insult?”. Always conducted a social experiment focusing on the women stereotypes and clearly defined the problem in their first commercial film.


The first part of their success was the idea itself. The problem it tackled was not interesting just for their primary target group of this campaign (teenage girls), but for their whole target market (women approximately ten years and older). Always achieved that half of the world has identified with their campaign and so as with their brand.

However, to bring the message to the target group and get it to engage, you need more than an idea. More than a video. And when talking about teenage girls, you particularly need the social media. So the hashtag #LikeAGirl was introduced hoping that the campaign goes viral and that the social media users will co-create the message Always was trying to push. “The hashtag was essential in rallying people to change the meaning of “like a girl” by showing the world that it can mean amazing things.” (Judy John, CEO/CCO of Leo Burnett Canada) And it went viral like nothing else. Not just private persons are hashtaging their photos on social media, the companies are trying to get their bit as well. The Always campaign has been successful – the meaning of “like a girl” has been changing indeed.


„A crucial ingredient for many of the communication success stories is a well-developed integrated marketing communications (IMC) program.“ (Keller, 2016) “In a basic sense, developing the optimal IMC program requires choosing the best set of communication options and strategically managing the relationships between the chosen options“ (Duncan, 2004) So even when at the start Always relayed mostly on digital marketing (particularly social media marketing – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), each year they take the opportunity to launch their video spots in TV through the Super Bowl and International Women’ day. Following the success of the campaign in past two years since its launch, Always incorporated the message into majority of their communication. And as you can see, the message is consistent in copywriting, visual appeal, colour management, just everything you can think of, so the consumers can identify the brand and particular campaign within the seconds.


In the meantime, the acuteness of the stereotype message Always promotes along with all the buzz its marketing activities has driven up, media around all of the world are picking on their story, creating a great Public Relations for company and promoting the campaign even more. The success was measured on the D&AD’ website:

  • More than 85 milion global views on YouTube from 150+ countries
  • Increasing the percentage of girls between 16 and 24 years old who perceive the freise “like a girl” positively from 19% to 76%
  • Double digit increasement in Always’ brand equity
  • Awards (D&AD Pencils in eight categories, 2015 Emmy for outstanding commercial at the National Academy of Television Arts and more)

This success drives Always to continue with the campaign. Six months ago, another part of the campaign was launched, which sees the stereotypes’ problem from different perspective, stereotypical emoticons. Sounds like a banality, but actually it represents everything, Always has been trying to point at. Girls, who in their teenage part of live use emoticons more than anyone, address the issue of female emoticons being all dressed in pink associated with actions like cutting the hair or looking in the mirror, while all occupation and sport emojis were men. “There are no girls in profession emojis… Unless you count being a bride a profession”


The newest “Like a Girl” video was released two months ago with the slogan “Keep playing”. It goes back to sports – with the message, that when girls play “like a girl” it can mean to win, already established, this ad encourages girls to continue fulfilling their dreams and fight against the stereotypes.


Finding a suitable relevant message to communicate, Always will continue with this communication. And maybe, “Like a Girl” will become Always’ formal claim.

by Katarina Kopecka


Always, Our Epic Battle #LikeAGirl, 2016, [accessed 10. September 2016]

Diaz A.C., Always’ Hard-Hitting ‘Like a Girl’ Wins 2015 Outstanding Commercial Emmy, 13. September 2016,

D&AD, Case Study: Always #LikeAGril, 2016 [accessed 5. September 2016]

Duncan T., Mulhern F., 2016, A White Paper on the Status, Scope, and Future of IMC, Denver, CO: Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver

Grohmann B., Bodur H., 2015. “Brand Social Responsibility: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Outcomes.” Journal Of Business Ethics 131, no. 2: 375-399

Nudd T., Not Every Brand Loves Emojis. Always ‘Like a Girl’ Says the Female Ones Are Terrible: Brand rips into stereotypes, 2. March 2016

Keller K. L., 2016, Unlocking the Power of Integrated Marketing Communications: How Integrated Is Your IMC Program?, Journal of Advertising, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 286-301

Lanquist L., Always’ New ‘Like A Girl’ Commercial Is Another Win For Female Empowerment, Self, 28. Jun 2016


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