CASSIES Grand Prix: Always strikes a chord

The internationally celebrated #LikeAGirl campaign was also unsurpassed in its effectiveness.

This story appears in the February/March 2016 issue of strategy.

Grand Prix

Gold: Canadian Success on the Global Stage + Gold: Best Insight

Situation Analysis: For decades, the feminine hygiene category had built brands by showcasing functional benefits. However, brands like U by Kotex and HelloFlo were creating social voices that were changing category conversations. The functional focus of Always, the number one brand, was capturing the “heads” – not the “hearts” – of the core teen female market, and the brand was losing relevance.

Insight & Strategy: Research shows that girls’ confidence plummets during puberty, significantly more than boys’, and the lost confidence comes back much later in life, if at all. Girls quickly go from believing they can take on the world to finding themselves questioning everything. These feelings are reinforced through the media, experiences in school and even playground vernacular such as “like a girl,” which further damages their confidence. For 30 years, Always had championed girls’ confidence by educating them during the critical time of puberty, a purpose that had been lost amid the welter of functional claims, but could be reclaimed.

Execution: A group of girls, boys, men and women were asked to do a series of actions “like a girl” on film. Prepubescent girls, aged five to 13, performed each action without any inhibitions, while older girls, post-puberty, would perform the actions with hesitancy, mockingly flopping their hands when asked to run or fight “like a girl.” To reverse the negative meaning of the phrase, the hashtag #LikeAGirl was used as a rallying cry, encouraging girls to let the world know what they were proudly doing “like a girl.” A four-minute, long-format online video was launched on June 26, 2014, appearing primarily on YouTube, accompanied by paid Twitter and Facebook posts. PR initiatives targeted top-tier media, while paid celebrity tweets sparked organic support from powerful female leaders and over 20 prominent female organizations. The annual media budget of $1 to $2 million was employed across North America.

Results: Top-of-mind awareness for Always increased from 77% to 83% generally, and from 49% to 58% among the core female teen target, with purchase intent increasing post-campaign by four points (from 42% to 46%) and by 20 points among teens (from 40% to 60%). Always Pads brand equity scores increased by 3.3 points (from 38.1% to 41.4%). Brand share increased by 1.4 points to 59.6%, and the campaign’s return on investment was $2.56 per dollar spent.

Supported by an increased year-on-year spend and promotional support, the campaign generated 4.58 billion global impressions and #LikeAGirl became the number one viral video in the world, with 85 million views and over one million shares. Earned video views were two times the industry benchmark and #LikeAGirl became the number one brand digital activation for Super Bowl XLIX.

Cause & Effect: Pricing and distribution for Always remained the same as the previous year.


Client: Procter & Gamble

Director of corporate communications & marketing, North America: Michael Echter

Agencies: Leo Burnett Toronto, Chicago, London/Holler

CCO: Judy John

CDs: Judy John, Becky Swanson

Digital CD: Milos Obradovic

CW: AJ Hassan, Angel Capobianco

ADs: Hmi Hmi Gibbs, Nick Bygraves

Agency producer: Adine Becker

Director: Lauren Greenfield

Production company: Chelsea Films

Editor: Kathryn Hempel

Editing company: Cutters

Brand planners: Karuna Rawal, Anna Coscia, Rachel Darville

Digital planner: Laura Jones

Account lead: Annette Sally

Account management: Heidi Philip, Gaia Gilardini, Sandy Kolkey, Lisa Bamber, Susan Lulich, Shaina Holtz, Matteo Carcassola

Participation director: Jake Bruene

Media agency: Starcom MediaVest Group

Starcom MediaVest UK, associate directors: Laura Cardenas-Garcia, Joanna Poulton, Nic Jones

Starcom MediaVest UK, planning manager: Rhianwen Hart

PR Agency: MSLGroup

Also won The Globe and Mail Creative Effectiveness prize