Do it yourself – like a girl or otherwise

P&G’s #likeagirl campaign is a lesson in thinking deeply about who your customer is

This week I wanted to highlight a piece of content which I really like, partly because it is an excellent, original idea which succeeded in positively raising a brand’s profile, but mainly because I REALLY like its message.

The #LikeAGirl campaign was made for Always, Procter & Gamble’s sanitary towel brand (or ‘feminine hygiene product’ for the squeamish) and is the antithesis of the jolly roller-blading, white–shorts wearing sanitary equipment ads of not-so-many years ago.

A film made by an award-winning documentary maker, Lauren Greenfield, shows the director asking various adults to “run like a girl” or “fight like a girl”, which they all do with predictable wimpy arms and legs and complaints about their hair. She then asks a group of young girls, under the age of about 10, to do the same, and they all run, jump and kick to the absolute best of their ability, displaying athleticism and strength.

The #LikeAGirl campaign is intended to bolster girl’s confidence around the time of puberty, to stop people saying stupid and meaningless things like ‘you hit like a girl’ to them, unwittingly undermining their belief in their own abilities for the rest of their life. The answers of the little girls to “what does it mean when I ask you to run like a girl?” (sample response: “it means run as fast as you can”) shows teenage girls’ lack of confidence is created, not innate.

For me at least, it is simultaneously tear-to-a-glass-eye and fire-in-your-belly stuff. It’s also been viewed 48 million times on YouTube and has more than 155,000 likes.

At the end of the film, viewers are encouraged to share it, to tweet “amazing things you do” using the #LikeAGirl hashtag, and to read more about the campaign at the Always website. Getting readers or viewers to do the above is the holy trinity of content marketing, and even one of them is a great success.

So for companies who don’t have the deep marketing coffers of P&G, what does this campaign tell you about making great content? As well as a lesson in social media marketing, it is a lesson in thinking deeply about who your customer is, what concerns them (as important as what pleases them) and what you could do to alleviate those concerns (not just say ‘buy this, it will solve all your problems!’). You may not have access to award-winning directors but you do have customers and you can ask them questions and make something interesting with the results.

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