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Leo's Cannes Contenders: Always "#LikeAGirl"

When did the phrase ‘like a girl’ become so negative?

More than half of girls lose confidence during puberty – and a contributing factor to that drop are societal put-downs based solely on gender. Only 19 percent of women have a positive association with the expression ‘like a girl,’ and P&G Always, Leo Burnett Chicago, London and Toronto, with the help of famous female documentarian Lauren Greenfield have designed a stirring rally cry to reverse this connotation and champion girls’ confidence in a new empowering campaign: #LikeAGirl.

The #LikeAGirl social experiment recruited real women, men, boys and pre-pubescent girls and asked them to show what it physically meant to run like a girl, throw like a girl and do other similar actions. The results were incredible. The young, pre-pubescent girls performed these actions confidently and proudly, while older women and men performed these actions in a self–deprecating and frivolous manner.

It became clear that at a certain point in life, women begin to internalize the negative connotations that comes from doing things ‘like a girl’. This video is an effort to rally people to help change what it means to do something #LikeAGirl to mean being strong, confident and downright amazing.

Executive Creative Directors Judy John (Toronto) and Becky Swanson (Chicago) talk more in the Q+A below about the creative insight that drives #LikeAGirl and even shed some light on what being a girl means to them. Join Judy and Becky in the movement and share what you do proudly #LikeAGirl.

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How did you discover this unique tension point in the perception of doing something #LikeAGirl?
JJ: ‘Half of girls lose their confidence during puberty’ is such a powerful fact. In our efforts to bring Rewrite the Rules, our new platform for Always to life, we wanted our first act to address the things that contribute to the drop of confidence in girls. Amongst all the work from the Chicago, London and Toronto team, there was one that simply said, ‘Let’s change the meaning of Like A Girl’. We all felt it in the room. That was it.

BS: The phrase has become so ubiquitous, you have to stop and say "Hey, wait – was that an insult?" And then in true Baader-Meinhof form, you start hearing it everywhere. People say it without thinking and that's what we're trying change. It's not always a pointed insult – but an unthinking pattern of behavior that people don't even realize is destructive to girls.

How did you go about capturing this tension on film?
JJ: It starts with getting a great director and then asking meaningful questions. Like all social experiments, you go in with a hypothesis of the responses you'll get, but the responses we got were so much more personal and revealing than we had imagined.

BS: That's the genius of Lauren Greenfield—her ability to make people so comfortable that they reveal their deepest thoughts and beliefs. She pulled it right out of them.

Why did you choose documentarian Lauren Greenfield to help tell this story?
JJ: We looked at a lot of directors but in the end, we all felt there was only one director who was perfect, Lauren. Her previous work showed her deep understanding of girls and women, and also how she could find the honesty on each issue.

BS: She's been on our radar forever; we have all these female brands and understanding teen girls is her life work. We first worked with Lauren ten years ago – on a series of print ads for P&G's Being Girl – and won a Gold Lion at Cannes. There was no second choice.

Can you describe a defining #LikeAGirl moment that you experienced while growing up?
JJ: I can’t think of one defining moment. It’s really been a series of moments where you say I’m going to do it the only way I know how and I’m going to do it unapologetically.

BS: I was the first girl in the history of my high school to run for Student Council President; lots of people were quite indignant. It was fine to aspire to vice president, but no higher. Well, I won… and it completely paved the way for other girls to demonstrate self confidence without ridicule.

How does this campaign define what it means to be #LikeAGirl?
JJ: This campaign is more about redefining what it means and rallying people behind that.

BS: A girl can do anything she wants. Proudly. Enthusiastically. Without apology.

What do you hope this campaign will bring to light in the minds of young girls?
JJ: I hope this campaign makes girls feel awesome about being a girl and doing things like a girl. I hope they feel that they are part of a sisterhood that supports and encourages them to go be great.

BS: Young girls already believe they're capable of doing anything – we certainly don't want to change them. We want to change the society they are growing up in so they don't suffer the crisis of confidence during puberty that affects girls twice as much as boys.

How can girls get involved with Always #LikeaGirl?
JJ: Start using #LIKEAGIRL in a positive way. Be a role model.

BS: Through social media. They can start by tweeting the amazing things they do #likeagirl! It will be fun to turn that hashtag on its head!

Creative Credits:
Title: Always #Like A Girl
Client: P&G
Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago, Toronto, London/Holler
Chief Creative Officer: Judy John
Creative Directors: Judy John, Becky Swanson
Digital Creative Director: Milos Obradovic
Writers: AJ Hassan, Angel Capobianco
Art Directors: 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 and 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: SMG PR Agency: MSL​