Always takes on sexist emojis in new Like A Girl ad

Two years ago, Always questioned society’s use of the phrase ‘like a girl’. Now, in another compelling mini documentary-cum-ad, the brand addresses the effect that gendered emojis have on girls and young women.


Brands usually love emojis, with several of them using them in ads of late, in an attempt to reach those elusive younger audiences. This new campaign from Always digs a little deeper into emoji culture, however, and uncovers a seam of sexism that, it claims, might prove limiting to girls.

The film, created by Leo Burnett Chicago, is a continuation of 2014’s phenomenally successful Like A Girl spot, which sparked a trend in ad campaigns focusing on female empowerment. Like that ad, this new spot shows a group of girls being interviewed – this time, about emojis and how they use them. Before long, the conversation turns to the point that the ‘professions’ or sports featured in emojis are all depicted using male characters (unless you count a bride as a profession). Naturally, the girls in the ad are less than impressed.




Always is not the first brand to point out the limitations of emojis for girls, with Dove launching a set of curly haired emojis for women and girls last year as part of its ‘Love Your Curls’ campaign. But Always does a good job of taking the point further here, and manages to do it without being patronising too, despite the soaring music towards the end of the film. Emojis may not have the wider cultural significance of the ‘like a girl’ expression just yet, and they may seem throwaway to some, but this campaign makes a valid point of how sexism can subtly creep into all aspects of culture, even cute cartoon figures.

Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago
ECD: Nancy Hannon
Creative directors: Natalie Taylor, Isabela Ferreira
Creatives: Jin Yoo, Amanda Mearsheimer, Garrett Vernon
Production company: Pulse Films
Director: Lucy Walker

  • Sam

    Do you like pink? Yes… well your a failure to women.
    Do you like being pretty and dressing up? Yes… well your the problem.
    Do you like to make your own mind up of what femininity is? yes.. well you hate feminism.

    Stop telling women it’s bad to live life by their emotions… and stop turning women into men.

    • *you’re

      …Anyway, you’re grossly oversimplifying the argument there. The point isn’t to outlaw pink, or prettiness or femininity. It’s to avoid reducing being female to ONLY these things.

      The message of the campaign was to remove barriers to girls and women feeling comfortable living life by a RANGE of emotions. Barriers that can be especially harmful during formative years.

      By “stop turning women into men” do you mean “stop encouraging women into thinking that they should be pursuing sports or professions”?

      • Freddy Niche

        Don’t worry David, you are one of the good men. No need for you to ride in on your white horse and save women. And really, no need to overcompensate by resorting to tiresome cliche attacks.

        • Keir Barnett

          It’s not fair to say that because he’s explaining how one comment is taking the issue out of context that he’s trying to “save women”.

          He raises a good point – don’t you agree?

          • Amy lee Nelson

            No he didn’t raise a good point. This campaign is fantastic and is totally on point. Giving us options that aren’t sexist and stereotypical is just the kind of small change that slowly makes this world a better place for women. Sam was also being quite sexist by speaking on behalf of women who are supposedly being shunned by feminism because they’re not manly. We can speak for ourselves Sam, and as a woman your statements make me preTTy annoyed. We’re proud of our emotional superiority and ability to look fab when we dress up – but Sam – we’re also proud that we can be lawyers, politicians and cosmologists. It’s about equality, not hatred, not becoming men… just… equality.

      • Sam

        “stop turning women into men” do you mean “stop encouraging women into thinking that they should be pursuing sports or professions”? – No that would make me sexist.

    • Cara

      Maybe ask a girl or a woman of what she makes of this. That is if you know any.