Super Bowl

P&G's Always Takes #LikeAGirl Viral Video to the Super Bowl

First Feminine-Care Brand in Big Game Will Trim Three-Minute Ad to 60 Seconds

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Procter & Gamble Co.'s Always will make its Super Bowl debut with a 60-second version of the brand's #LikeAGirl viral video hit, first released online in June.

The ad, the first from a feminine-care brand in the Super Bowl, aims to "spark a social change that redefines the meaning" of the phrase "like a girl," as P&G puts it. The video was one of the top viral ads of 2014, with 54 million views on YouTube alone, though the Super Bowl audience will more than double that reach in one fell swoop.

The video by Lauren Greenfield, Sundance Film Festival award-winning creator of "The Queen of Versailles," takes issue with generations of playground taunts about people running, throwing or fighting "like a girl." It asks: "When did doing something 'like a girl' become an insult?"

The 60-second version of the ad debuted this morning on NBC's Today.

"We were really encouraged by the data we now have that it's really changing perceptions," said Fama Francisco, VP-global feminine care for P&G, in an interview. "The data among men is even more encouraging. Two out of three men who have seen the video said they would now stop or at least think twice before they would use the phrase 'Like a Girl' as an insult."

Ms. Francisco, who had previously headed global baby care for P&G and came to her current role this fall after the video came out, is nonetheless placing a big bet on a 60-second spot on a game where time goes for a reported $4.5 million for each 30 seconds. Always has spent around $50 million to $60 million on measured media annually in recent years, according to Kantar Media data.

She said, "There's no better platform than the Super Bowl to get over 100 million people to spread the message."

Always has had a good run since the video first aired, with market share up 0.2 points to 50.1% in the 12 weeks ended Jan. 17, according to Nielsen data from Deutsche Bank. And Ms. Francisco said she's confident the Super Bowl outlay will be worth it. "We're really pleased with the results," from a business standpoint, she said, but even more so with the degree to which the campaign is "changing people's perceptions."

As part of the pre-Super Bowl effort, Always will release a video of 15-year-old female youth-football quarterback Karlie Harman of Loudoun County, Va. She's been at the site of the Super Bowl in Phoenix this week talking to New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks players and the media as part of the brand's effort to redefine the meaning of "like a girl."

The original video effort was led by Leo Burnett offices in Chicago, Toronto and London (including Holler), with support from Publicis Groupe siblings MSL Group on PR and Starcom MediaVest Group in media.

Always released the original video in light of research showing that more than half of girls experience a drop in confidence during puberty. While it's not clear that they've entirely regained that confidence because of one video, P&G survey results do indicate the effort has succeeded in changing how the phrase "like a girl" is viewed. Prior to viewing the film, 19% of girls had a positive association with the phrase. A recent study showed 76% of girls ages 15 to 24 no longer see the phrase as an insult, according to P&G.

The company said the video has been viewed 80 million times in 150 countries and shared by 1.5 million people, yet only half of American girls and even fewer men and boys have seen it -- part of the decision to take it to the wider audience of the Super Bowl.