The Content Strategist

#LikeAGirl: 5 Great Pieces of Branded Content That Get Behind Female Empowerment

Earlier this year, brands jumped on Sheryl Sandberg’s #BanBossy campaign to empower young women. Now, there’s a new hashtag in town: #LikeAGirl.

Feminine-hygiene brand Always jumped on the hashtag in a new video campaign, which has received over 30 million views on YouTube since it was uploaded on June 26, and it shows no signs of losing steam. In the video, teens and kids of both sexes are asked to do a number of things “like a girl,” including running and throwing a ball. While the male and female teens clearly understand the negative connotations behind the phrase, the young girls proudly show off their athletic prowess without giving it a second thought. The ending proves to be extraordinarily powerful, recalling Dove’s highly successful “Real Beauty Sketches,” and making this pro-female piece of branded content an absolute must-see.

While such successful pieces of branded content have remained relatively rare, more and more brands are taking strides to send empowering messages to young women and encouraging them to assert themselves #LikeAGirl (hashtag not necessarily included).

GoldieBlox: Super Bowl Spot

GoldieBlox, the California-based toy company that encourages girls to explore engineering, released this 30-second spot during last year’s Super Bowl. It features little girls ditching their traditionally pink, “girly” toys in favor of toys with which they can construct complicated machines.

Lise Eliot, a neuroscientist and the author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain, told TIME magazine earlier this year that “when youngsters enter the aisle labeled for girls, the only STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] options they’re really offered are chemistry sets that help create makeup or building blocks to construct pet grooming shops.” Companies like GoldieBlox aspire to break down those gender barriers.

Still, what’s most impressive is how young the company is—barely two years old, and crowd-funded by a Kickstarter campaign in just four days. It earned quick attention with another empowering viral video, which drummed up controversy for its use of the Beastie Boys’ “Girls.” GoldieBlox ended up with a Super Bowl spot by winning a contest by Inuit to have its spot aired during the Big Game, becoming the first small business ever to do so and ultimately making the most of the major opportunity.

Verizon Wireless: “Inspire Her Mind”

Verizon echoed GoldieBlox’s sentiments with a far more somber approach in its new short film, “Inspire Her Mind,” which has garnered more than 2 million views on YouTube to date and illustrates the poignant consequences of discouraging girls from pursuing a STEM education. In the video, a budding young scientist’s dreams are slowly dashed as her well-meaning parents inadvertently force her to adhere to strict gender roles and norms. The ad is accompanied by the hashtag #InspireHerMind, along with the video’s thesis question: “Why do girls lose confidence before high school?” Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, adds her voice and wise words to the dreamy cinematography, making for one powerful video ad.

United Nations: “The Autocomplete Truth”

Last year, the UN released a disturbing campaign depicting the faces of several women of varying races and ethnicities with a Google search bar plastered over their mouths, as if to silence them. The search bar shows the automated results of the phrase “women should.” Results like “stay at home,” “not speak in church” and even “be slaves” make the posters disconcerting enough on their own. The accompanying video, “The Autocomplete Truth,” takes matters a step further with a brief walk through the history of women’s rights, reiterating the uncomfortable reality of how much sexism still exists today.

“The ads are shocking because they show just how far we still have to go to achieve gender equality. They are a wake-up call, and we hope that the message will travel far,” Kareem Shuhaibar, a copywriter, told UN Women last year.

They certainly did go far—”The Autocomplete Truth” received over 400,000 views on YouTube, and the campaign made headlines across the web.

HelloFlo: “First Moon Party”

On a sillier note, HelloFlo followed up last year’s viral video, “The Camp Gyro,” with a new short film, “First Moon Party,” which takes a comical look at how a young girl deals with her first period. Instead of depicting the biological change as a scary, anxiety-inducing event, “First Moon Party” shows pre-teen girls engaged in a heated competition over who will get theirs first, and the results of one girl’s determination to beat out her competitors (even if it means lying to her mom).

“First Moon Party” has received over 23 million views, and been included in many “Best of YouTube” playlists and “must see” listicles. (Including one of ours.) Meanwhile, HelloFlo, a company that provides educational starter packs for a girl’s first period, has proven that a fresh and funny spin on a topic as old as time can not only provide insights to their audience, but also become a viral sensation.

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