Yesterday at a tennis lesson my instructor was helping me with my serve. She explained the movement needed to be like throwing a football and I thought to myself “ummmm, i have no idea how to throw a football!”. I actually thought about it all day yesterday because in that moment it really reflected to me how much I let others get to me as a kid. I was into dance when I was growing up as my primary activity but even when the kids outside would play sports I would just hang out and cheer, never actually play. In my head “I wasn’t good at it” so I never played. Now at 42 as I am learning how to play tennis, really the first sport I have ever gotten involved in, I still have that inner-dialog battle of “You are not a sporty girl, you are not great at this, let the other person get the ball and stay out of the way so you don’t lose the game for us….”. Yesterday when she told me to swing like throwing a football I was so jealous of her self confidence and also flattered that she thought I would know how to throw a football well. Her simple statement showed me that she had the confidence in herself to learn how to do something and be good with herself and how she does it. See, if the roles had been reversed and I was using the statement “like throwing a football” I would have said “I imagine it is like throwing a football but I’m not good at that so don’t follow my lead”.
This morning as I’m watching the Today show and they are doing a Super Bowl Ad preview for this weekend I see this commercial and immediately felt connected to it:
Of course I get sidetracked from what I was doing and start googling to find the commercial so I can see it again. Apparently the ad came out this summer I just had not seen it yet but there is feedback to be found from people who like it and people who don’t. Since I was already sidetracked and pretty much forgot what I was doing prior I kept reading!
So, if you watched the commercial above you know it is an ad campaign for Always. I came across an article on The Daily Beast written by Emily Shire that shares she thinks it is deceptive marketing. Here are a few things she says…
I get that Always is attempting to build large, overarching connections between girls getting older and losing self-esteem. But how exactly are the products Always is hawking going to do that? If Always is going to peg a giant message about self-confidence without any actual mention of menstruation in the commercial, it seems somewhat deceptive.
Because it fails to mention it’s, you know, selling a menstrual product, Always’ “Like a girl” seems more like the clever, but completely contrived Virginia Slims’ “You’ve come a long way, baby” campaign. The famous 1960s campaign attached cigarettes to a mainstream-friendly version of Women’s Liberation. While it clearly does not have the same detrimental health effects of Virginia Slims, Always also attempts to attach itself to some larger movement feminist-minded movement, and as a result, it rings false and disingenuous.
Snaps to Always for claiming it wants to improve young girls’ self-esteem. But until the company shows me how it is actually helping to do that, I am sticking to off-brand tampons.
More of the article can be found here: Yes, Always’s ‘Like a Girl’ Campaign Is Great—but It’s Also Deceptive
I don’t think it rings “disingenuous” at all, I think it rings GENIUS. Ads are a huge part of culture and creating what we all desire. (Except for the few of you reading this that say “oh no, not me” yet have some sort of name brand product in your fridge, pantry, closet or whatever right now.) I still am sold everyday by images and ads I see as a solution to a problem that I sometimes didn’t even know I had. Not only that but because these are advertisements and we see them or hear them over and over and over again they do have the power to change our minds. To at least get us thinking about their message. I think it is genius that Always uses this ad time to do some good in the power of mindset for young girls. Yes, they would not have created the ad if the weren’t trying to sell a tampon but I applaud that they don’t feel the need to just talk tampons. Girls are sharing a viral video and hashtagging a message that is from Always. I can guarantee you I would never have posted any tampon company commercials as a preteen on Facebook/Twitter etc (if we’d had them in the 80s) because I would have been embarrassed that a boy knew I watched a video promoting tampons. There was a shame in that. Now we see girls sharing it and proudly hashtagging #LIKEAGIRL so I think it does show us that it is helping to improve young girls self esteem. It does make it easier to become a topic to ask about. They just publicly shared a tampon commercial! That takes a ton of self-esteem, yes???
Now to be fair I also think that some of the ads she mentions in the article above about what she thinks are “more successful campaigns to challenge the feminine product conventions” are funny and also really do share a message that needs to be heard, I think it is important that there are both styles. Why does there have to be a right and wrong? Why can we not talk about these messages in different ways? This hilarious HelloFlo – First Moon Party is definitely “in your face” about starting a period and talking about it with your friends and your mom. We didn’t have these funny commercials like HelloFlo growing up but we did have the book “Are you there God, It’s Me, Margret” and that pretty much opened the conversation with our friends. Is that book still around?
I don’t think that if HelloFlo’s commercial ran during the Super Bowl it would have such an impact on young girls being able to “talk about their period” as much as it would if it ran to a smaller targeted audience that is only young girls! Instead it would probably embarrass them and let’s face it, the young boys would totally not get the joke and it would actually have more of an opposite impact. (Seriously, watching that with your dad or brother or their friends during the Super Bowl!) However, If I had girls I would definitely be pulling up that commercial on youtube for them so we could laugh and talk about it. Different messages for different audiences. Things can be different and one does not have to be “better”. Kind of what the Always commercial is saying! Both of these ads and message styles need to be out there.
I can’t help but think it is messages like the #LIKEAGIRL campaign that will help a young girl today that is like me when I was younger and change that voice in her head. Who knows, maybe she will play in Wimbledon because of it!
Loving the “Like A Girl” (#LIKEAGIRL) ad campaign.
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