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Pentad Analysis for "like a Girl" Ad Campaign

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Pentadic Assessment of the “Like a Girl” Ad Campaign

By: Always

Aaron Mazzarella, Erin Trunnell, Morgan Goplerud

University of Northern Iowa

Justification/Review of Literature

The artifact that our group chose was the Always commerical from the “Like a Girl” campaign. This is a TV commercial ad that ran during the 2015 Super Bowl. This ad was presented by Always, a company who sells feminine products. Their ads traditionally just focused on their product and not on their user, but this ad is different. The ad interviews four groups of people: Women, young girls, a young boy, and a man. The ad asks each of the groups of people to describe what it means to throw like a girl, run like a girl, and fight like a girl. The older girls answer much differently than the younger girls. When asked these questions, the older girls give a very stereotypical response. The younger girls on the other hand, view themselves no different than any guy out there.

It is easy to see that the younger girls see themselves very differently than the older girls. While the younger girls view themselves as strong, fast, and tough, the older girls portray themselves as weak, slow, and almost incapable. It is simple to explain why the older women thought this way. Our culture has a long history of placing false stereotypes on women. Stereotyping is defined by Philip Grossman in his article Holding Fast: The Persistence and Dominance of Gender Stereotypes as, “the act of assigning to a member of a particular group a characteristic or trait based solely on the individual’s membership in a group.” Gender stereotypes begin the second a baby’s gender is found out (Brewer, 2015). However, It gets worse when the guys respond to these questions. It is clear, based on their reactions, that doing something “like a girl” is not a good or amazing thing.

This issue makes valid points,  especially with the pressure from the media to be a certain way, the significance of this ad is so great. According to Always,  the goal of their #likeagirl campaign is “together we can make like a girl mean amazing things”. Why should females have to think that “like a girl” means anything other than great? At such a young age people begin being influenced by the media, whether it be magazines, television ads, or movies we all begin to form a false sense of reality based on what we may be seeing. This is one major reason why women find themselves feeling the need to act or look a certain way, simply because thats how society tells them to. It is time that the media get behind real women in society and help change the way people see women.

It is so important that we study this ad campaign in hopes that this add will encourage other companies to start supporting women in the media. It will be amazing to see what companies may follow this beautiful example of lifting women up instead of breaking them down. Always as a company is a household name it will be amazing to see what kind of impact this ad will make on their reputation and as an example to the rest of the world, saying “ we don’t have to take this anymore, and we won’t.”

        The “Like a Girl” campaign highlights the differences between how young women, boys, and girls perceive the phrase “Like a Girl”. They use a more relatable approach to appeal to the customer and sell their product. It brings to light the important issue of women being seen as inferior and doing anything like a girl is a bad thing. The ad goes into detail about how this can be detrimental to girl’s self esteem as they go through puberty and become women. When the director asked the participants when it became a bad thing to be like a girl, they all realized the way they were unknowingly demonstrating a sexist train of thought and how wrong they were. This commercial is working to eliminate the phrase like a girl as an insult and remind women that being a girl is not a bad thing.

The rhetor of this message would be the company Always. They produce menstrual products for young women. They are the entity that organized and launched the gripping campaign. Their audience is society as a whole, but more specifically young women and girls. By casting this demographic in the ad, they made it relatable to everyone. It would be thought provoking to anyone who has any relation with females, and cause them to imagine their sister, daughter, or friend in that position. It also causes young women and girls to imagine themselves in this position. The girls in the video even stepped back and realized how they were enforcing the negative image of girls and why it is a problem. The male participants in the commercial make the ad appealing to men as well. With it being a super bowl commercial, it was widely spread, and the variation of ages and genders made it that much more appealing to a broad audience.

It is important to study the this commercial because it has a very important message. As the ad states, when girls reach puberty, their self confidence tends to drop drastically. It attributes this drop to the negative terms people use about girls and their inferiority. The term “like a girl” should not be used as an insult; the term “like a girl” should be used to describe girls as they actually are, which is strong and capable. Carefully analyzing this ad makes the message a lot stronger. People do not always understand the impact their comments and descriptions of girls can have. Young girls should be able to grow up being proud of who she is. The more we use terms similar to like a girl, the harder we make it for them to feel as though who they are is something to be ashamed of. Even though society has negatively affected women’s self image, there is still a chance to change that pattern and encourage the young girls to stay strong.  

This ad’s importance has been noted by many people around the nation. Here is what Jillian Berman of Huffington Post had to say. “The ad may be the first time a feminine care product was advertised during the Super Bowl and is a prominent example of how companies trying to woo women customers are shifting advertising tactics (Berman 2015).” Always realizes the impact media has on women and has decide to take advertising a different direction. Always has also noted the incredible impact our media has had on the women of this generation. Their impact has reached much farther than just throwing, fighting, and running. It influences a woman's whole self-image. Recent studies show that 40% of all 9 and 10 year old girls have already been on a diet (Strickland). That is absolutely remarkable. Nine and ten year old girls should still be playing house with their friends, not worrying about their body. According to the article “Word-of-Mouth Rhetorics in Social Media Talk” by Toder-Alon, Brunel, and Fournier, evidence suggests that the way people talk through media has relevance and implications of media and marketing meeting in many areas. This shows the power society and media has on young girls, and Always wants it to end.



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