Best of 2021: Girls watch Kamala Harris sworn in as VP in this stirring ad

'When one girl rises, all girls rise' is the message of poignant spot from Girl Up, Ogilvy and R29

Published On
Jan 21, 2021

Editor's Pick

Through New Year's, we will be counting down our picks for 2021's 30 best ads and creative marketing ideas.

At No. 28: The beginning of 2021 marked a historical moment, when the United States elected its first woman of color as vice president. The United Nations Foundation, Refinery29 and Ogilvy captured, in real-time, how the event affected girls and women around the country.

Girls and women all over the world watched Kamala Harris sworn in as the first female Vice President of the United States yesterday. That milestone moment is conveyed in a simple, yet poignant film from Girl Up, the gender equality youth initiative of the United Nations Foundation, created in partnership with Refinery29 and Ogilvy.

As we hear the soundtrack of the swearing-in, the camerawork captures the shining eyes of little girls, and their mothers, from a diverse range of backgrounds, as well as groups of working women. It concludes with the simple message: "When one girl rises, all girls rise."

See the full list of 2021's Best Ads.

The spot was filmed and produced by a volunteer network of photographers and cinematographers during the inauguration in over 30 households across the country. Giovanni Messner, who directed the project overall, then edited the footage immediately after the inauguration ceremony to produce a spot that went live within hours of the event.

The film is also being featured in a personal essay by Refinery29’s Global Editor-in-Chief Simone Oliver as she reflects on what today means to her as a Black woman and Howard University Alumna as well as for future generations of young girls, including her daughters. 

"I’m not naive to think the swearing in of Madam Vice President Kamala Harris was the antidote for a nation in need," Oliver said in a statement. "It was about representation and showing our girls what’s possible, and that possibility offers hope." 

“It is hard to sum up the impact this moment will have around the world in words, so we wanted people to experience it through the faces that will shape the future," added Daniel Fisher, global executive creative director at Ogilvy, in a statement. "Vice President Kamala Harris may be the first woman to hold high office in the US, but she won’t be the last. Today’s inauguration was a huge moment in history, so it’s an honor for Ogilvy to have collaborated with Girl Up to make this film and we’re so grateful to everyone who donated their time to help us capture this inspiring event.”

“This moment is about hope and possibilities," added Melissa Kilby, executive director of Girl Up. "It's about infinite potential –not just that of Madam Vice President Kamala Harris, but of every girl, everywhere. Girls seeing her today will grow up to remember the moment they first believed they could do anything–because of what they saw her do.”


Jan 21, 2021
Client :
Girl Up
Agency :
Ogilvy Worldwide
Executive Director :
Melissa Kilby
Director of Communications and Digital Media :
Beth Nervig
Advisory Board Member :
Jennifer DaSilva
Global ECD :
Daniel Fisher
Creative Director / Creative :
Alvaro Rivera
Creative Director / Creative :
Luca Corteggiano
Executive Producer :
Sally Miller
Project Manager :
Vanessa Manley
Global Client Director :
Pumie Msengana
Strategist :
Cristina Diago
Director/Editor :
Giovanni Messner
Cinematographer :
Dannel Escallón
Additional Photography :
Daniel Addelson
Post House :
Unit Studios
Music :
Composer :
Jack Bennett
Label :
1107 Studios
Music Supervisor :
Andrew Stafford
Music :
Big Sync Music

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