Karuna Rawal, evp/business director at Arc Worldwide, and Rachel Darville, global strategist at Leo Burnett, discussed this effort at the 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies) Strategy Festival.
While Always is the leader in its category – and is used, under various names, by over 220 million women worldwide – the brand wanted to build deeper connections with its target audience
"At shelf, we were being chosen by more girls and women than any other brand," Rawal said. (For more, including more details about campaign development and implementation, read Warc's exclusive report: P&G tackles a taboo with a digital conversation.)
"But we felt like our connection as a brand really stopped there – not surprising given the category that we compete in."
In an attempt to change this situation, Always decided to look beyond the category conventions of scientific demonstrations or idealised imagery.
"Just talking about functional superiority wasn't enough," Rawal told the Strategy Festival delegates.
"We really had to start thinking about a different way to elevate the brand to go from just functional superiority to what we call 'emotional superiority'."
Research revealed that a majority of girls lose confidence during puberty, a trend encouraged by put-downs and insults based around gender.
Indeed, only 19% of women have positive associations with the expression "like a girl" – something that Always sought to step forward and counter.
Working with documentarian Lauren Greenfield, Always created a video where men and women, as well as boys and girls, were asked to engage in actions such as "running like a girl" and "throwing like a girl".
The girls yet to experience puberty performed these tasks confidently and proudly, whereas older women and men erred towards re-enactments displaying considerably less assurance.
By tapping into this tangible and powerful difference, Always successfully prompted far-reaching online and offline conversations about the topic, and how perceptions might be changed.
Data sourced from Warc