Although the Always “Like a Girl” commercial attempts to reshape the mindsets of people by making them “think” more about their treatment of women, their solution to this problem is to “rewrite the rules” (AlwaysBrand). This vague statement gives no clear course of action to uplift girl’s self-esteem and demonstrates how ineffective the Always commercial is in being a pro-feminist ad. Is it even plausible to think the Always ad can actually be effective in changing the negative stigmas of women? These negative outlooks society has on women are not illegal; there is no law that claims people must empower women.
The problem, though, is that continued insults make people genuinely believe that girls are weak and inferior. If people have this harsh and strong mindset, it seems irrational that a one-minute-long commercial can change the mindset of an entire population. Try as they might to change the perception of women in their short commercials, claiming their companies are fighting for feminism by displaying pro-feminism themes throughout, they actually fail because it is implausible to change the mindset of a population.
Consequently, the producers are exploiting the topic of feminism as monetary gain for selling their certain products. While marketers present this feministic theme, they still spotlight and present the common negative stereotype of women. Dr. Golden from the University of Texas states, “Marketers have more extensively studied the relationship between consumer behavior and the global self- concept” (Golden-Allison 599).
In other words, Golden suggests that marketers use the worldwide stigmas and concepts to relate products to consumers so they will be more likely to purchase them, never claiming if these common stigmas or concepts are positive or negative. While some may believe that the female audience is relating to this commercial because of its upport of empowering women, I believe it is the opposite. In the “Like a Girl” commercial, the aspect women are relating to is the constant derogatory idea that women are a weak gender.
Women relate to this because they have the most emotional connection towards it; almost every woman has felt undermined by the opposite sex due to common jokes. This forges a common bond, a shared burden of the stereotypical stigma of weakness. Women may feel a sense of hope with the “Like a Girl” commercial because it claims to empower them and to stop the negative stigmas, but since there is no clear solution rovided in the commercial, women are only left with the reminder that their gender is ridiculed by a large population.
The true message for women: they are all in this together and there is no solution. This negative perception is staged at the beginning of the Always commercial, exclaiming that girls are weak. Based on the theme of the commercial, Always does hope to change this disgrace, but in order for them to relate this product to people, they need to bring this negative notion to the forepart of the commercial. Always believes by making this stigma widely known, they can start to change the world’s view f women. I disagree.
Even if the Always commercial changes the minds of a few young girls who are forming their self concept and identity, the environment still has a major part in influencing their views. Myers comments, that most adolescents are confused with their own identity, so they tend to adopt their own from other adults or parents (Myers 159). That being said, instead of just targeting the easily malleable brains of today’s youth, Always should also be targeting middle age adults (the parental generation) to try to enforce the notion of changing the rules and empowering young girls.
Unfortunately, many adults aintain persistent derogatory stigmas of women because the older generation has already grown up with their own set of gender roles and common stigmas of the world. This emphasizes the point that it is more difficult to change a societies outlook on a certain group, specifically young females because the older a person becomes, the more set in their ways and less likely to change their opinions (Myers 161). In the “Like a Girl” commercial, there were no parental figures that took place in the questioning, only young adults and adolescents (AlwaysBrand).
This absence of figures suggests that Always is orgetting a major group that has immense influence on the youthful population this commercial is targeted towards, thus further demonstrating that the idea of changing millions of people’s views of women from a single commercial is not a plausible way to promote feminism. If there is not a feasible way to promote feminism through advertising, then what is making Always’ campaign so lucrative and productive for them to win an Emmy for their ads (Diaz)? Always uses what is called a rent-seeking economic strategy to market and sell more of Always’ products.
Rent-seeking is a negative economic term that suggests individuals restructure olicies in a way that distributes more money to themselves (Gwartney). The Always commercial uses the specific “Bootlegger and Baptist” strategy to be more successful in attracting consumers. This theory states that a certain company (the Bootlegger) is pretending to support a naive moral issue in their community, so they start to support the true morally sound protesters (the Baptist) of that issue, but do it for their own secretive gain (Gwartney).
To put it into context, the brand Always is the Bootlegger who is exploiting the current moral issue of feminism by claiming they are becoming part of the eminist group, but they are actually just using the current issue of feminism as a ploy to gain profit and not really support and protest for the cause. For the Always commercial, the company seems to be supporting the morally good concept of empowering women, for instance at the end of the commercial they encourage viewers to “rewrite the rules” and change the negative perception of women (AlwaysBrand).
But because they do not specifically lay out a distinct plan to bring this change to it is obvious that Always is just exploiting the feminist women, movement to sell and make a profit for their company. Although it seems peculiar that the brand Always is not try to put more of a dynamic plan into changing the perception of women in their ads, their self interest can actually be justified from a business standpoint.
According to Arthur Seldom, a public choice specialist, businesses’ personal interest may not concur with the interest of the total population (Gwartney). This demonstrates how people’s focus is on bettering their own self gain and not the gain of a group or community. The population of viewers that the “Like a Girl” advertisement will appeal the most to are interested in promoting equality and feminism, hich is why this commercial received excellent ratings.
The superb ratings came from the excitement and emotions felt throughout the commercial. As the advertisement begins, the background symphonic music slowly starts to build up, creating a suspenseful and intense feeling in the viewers when all the girls in the commercial are finally doing activities with seriousness and strength, by the end of the commercial the last music note is very sharp (AlwaysBrand), leaving viewers with the intense desire to fight for women.
But this gripping tone is being used for a different purpose from the producer’s perception; hey are interested in selling Always’ products and outcompeting their competitor brands (Kotex, Playtex, Tampax) and if this enthralling music creates an emotional desire with the viewers, then they have marketed a successful commercial because of the intense emotional appeal to the consumers of the product, they are more likely to go and buy Always brand instead of the competitors.
While the producers still may be feminist and desire equality, their purpose behind designing the advertisement is to make a profit. Some may argue that the commercial’s producers are interested in receiving positive feedback and bringing a new utlook to the idea of feminism, which may be true, since this commercial’s use of comparing young girl’s perspective to older girl’s perspective of women received close to 110 million views (Wallace). But the high stakes and amount of money needed to make a commercial to change the sensitivity of a girl are too high for Always.
This commercial’s sole goal was to make a large profit and use the largest spot in advertising to increase the chances of gaining said profit. This commercial first aired on live TV during the 2015 Superbowl, a game notorious for great football, but more notorious for it’s commercials. A commercial layed during the Superbowl is viewed by over 110 million people at one time, making the cost of a single, 30-second time slot over $4. 5 million dollars in 2015 (Wallace).
The Always “Like a Girl” commercial was 1 minute in length, most likely doubling that price. According to ADweek, a normal commercial air time on local television can be between $200 and $1500 and a nationally played commercial on the upper end is around $100,000 for a 30 second timeslot (Wagner). With the immense amount of money spent to even play this commercial on live TV during the Superbowl, one would think that there would also be a lot of money to create appealing ffects that would pack a punch with the viewers.
The Always “Like a Girl” commercial, however was surprisingly low in cost to make; there were no special effects, only a small stage set up and the camera crew that was even featured in the commercial alongside a few surveyed youths that could have come off the streets for this commercial, nothing fancy. With this low creation cost, it is evident that the company was trying to create the highest profit gains. The one-minute air slot was a fixed cost for the Always commercial; every company that wanted an air spot during the Superbowl had to pay the same amount to receive that spot.
But the low amount of money spent on making the “Like a Girl” commercial, allows for a high turnaround rate, meaning that the can have a higher rate of return on their investment (Gwartney), since they did not have to make as much to help pay off the commercial. In other words, Always’ low cost to make the commercial indicates that the company is more interested in making money in the most efficient way and not as worried about changing the world’s negative stigma of women. Even though Always is trying a new approach to change the negative scrutiny many girls go through everyday, the moral issue of feminism is not their main concern.
As a result, society is left with the negative schema of women still at the forefront. Since the commercial poses no straightforward solution to change the outlook of girls in society, only to “rewrite the rules” (AlwaysBrand), viewers are left to ponder how society treats women daily, but are given no solution to fix people’s negative perceptions. Therefore, Always is, in fact, exploiting the hot topic of feminism in today’s culture as a ploy to make a large profit, revealing the self-interest and corrupt side of companies.