At puberty, girls’ confidence plummets, often because society limits girls to stereotypes. These stereotypes can even be found in subtle places – like on phones.
Girls send over a billion emojis every day, but do emojis represent them? Always asked in a social experiment with real girls, and it turns out, unless girls only relate to being princesses and beauty-obsessed, the answer is no.
Always rallied girls all over the world to demand new, nonstereotypical emojis reflecting real girls with #LikeAGirl. As ideas poured in via social media, Always responded in real time with custom-designed emojis reflecting each suggestion. All ideas – from wrestlers to paleontologists to general badasses – were shared with the Unicode Consortium, per their request, for their next emoji update, affecting phones all over the world.
In the end, the idea is bigger than emojis. It’s about challenging stereotypes, keeping girls confident and creating change.
The Always #LikeAGirl - Girl Emojis film was launched on March 2, 2016, to rally girls in 22 markets around the world with an additional push on March 8 for International Women’s Day. Paid/earned media support lasted for four weeks post launch in most markets, with an additional three months of support in certain markets. Each market optimized to the places and content formats that were resonating most in local culture.
Placements on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter were supplemented with a public relations push with digital and cultural influencers on YouTube and Twitter. When First Lady Michelle Obama asked to be a part of the #LikeAGirl conversation, we partnered with her Let Girls Learn initiative for an experiential event to empower girls on International Women’s Day in Washington, D.C.
With 40+ million video views and thousands of girls all over the world demanding change, the Always #LikeAGirl - Girl Emojis film was the #1 ad on YouTube for March 2016, garnering attention from top-tier celebrity and cultural influencers, including tweets from actor/activist Emma Watson, media mogul Arianna Huffington, an invitation to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and even one of the most influential women in the world, First Lady Michelle Obama. The latter led to a partnership with the First Lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative. But perhaps no reaction was more thrilling than a response from the Unicode Consortium, the gatekeepers of emojis, including them in version 9.0 now available in Apple’s latest release and to all other operators. Removing societal stereotypes, even the subtle ones. Creating change in an effort to keep girls confident. No amount of media impressions can top that.
The Always Girl Emojis campaign rallies girls around the world through an online film, social media, PR and influencer efforts to demand new girl emojis that reflect all the amazing things girls can do using #LikeAGirl. Always responded to ideas suggested in real time with custom-designed emojis reflective of the girls’ incredible ideas – from a girl wrestler and a chemist, to a detective and a general badass. Additionally, each idea was passed along to the Unicode Consortium, the gatekeepers of emojis, for release in their next iteration of emojis. It’s an emoji idea about challenging stereotypes and creating change.
Insights, Strategy and the Idea
Always conducted over ten surveys worldwide to better understand girls’ confidence at puberty. One statistic serves as the cornerstone for the Always #LikeAGirl campaign: 56% of girls experience a severe drop in confidence at puberty.
An additional statistic drove the insight for this brief: 72% of girls feel society limits them, which contributes to their drop in confidence at puberty.
The primary target audience is girls ages 10-24. The secondary target audience includes mothers of preteen girls.
As we further explored the factors contributing girls feeling limited, we discovered that girls are stereotyped in the language they use most: emojis. While subtle, emojis are a representation of society’s bias against girls. And with 6 billion emojis texted every day, the subject resonated with both primary and secondary targets. We explored this bias in a social experiment, with interviews of those most impacted: the girls' whose confidence is in jeopardy.