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

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