5 Great Girl-power PR campaigns you may have forgotten

girl power pr 10.22.18

The past two decades have seen a world of change in the public relations industry, not least due to the pivotal role social media has come to play in the way firm’s connect with their customer base. One thing that remains the same, however, is a dedication to empowering women and girls the world over using the PR toolkit.

Here are five world-changing campaigns you might have forgotten about:

The Heart Truth

Client: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Duration: 2002-present

At the time The Heart Truth launched, heart disease was a leading cause of death among American women- and it was a hidden killer.

As such, the symbol of a red dress came to represent the risk of heart disease and stroke as more than a men’s issue. The campaign gained ground after then-current first lady Laura Bush joined as an ambassador in 2003, soon thereafter, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts included an exhibit of red dresses worn by former first ladies.

By 2012, $800,000 in grants had been awarded to support community education in partnership with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

Go Red For Women

Client: American Heart Association

Duration: 2004-present

Co-opting the red dress icon of The Heart Truth, Go Red For Women launched in 2004 to target women for education on stroke and heart disease.

Following the organisation’s partnership with Macy’s, the fund has taken in more than $60 million in donations from customers and partners of the retail chain. As a result, some 293 lives have been saved every day since 2004.

Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Client: Unilever/Dove

Duration: 2004-present

In the year Dove’s campaign launched, social research revealed that only 2% of women considered themselves beautiful. The brand sought to battle unrealistic depictions of beauty typically relied on in the industry, and consequently launched a campaign to highlight images of “real” women in their marketing.

Annual sales for the brand in the first 10 years of the campaign almost doubled, from $2.5 billion to over $4 billion. The campaign was named PRWeek’s 2006 Consumer Launch Campaign of the Year.

Barbie Gets Smart

Client: Mattel

Duration: February 2010-end 2010

She’s a woman who needs no introduction: Barbie has been a staple toy in every little girl’s collection since the 1950s. In a sign of the times, Mattel had the public vote to choose her 126th career, and they were not left disappointed.

More than one million people voted for Computer Engineer Barbie, facilitated by a campaign that blended nostalgic love for Barbie with contemporary attitudes toward the empowerment of girls. Not to be outdone, the Society of Women Engineers and National Academy of Engineering helped create her look.

The result was national media coverage, and the winning of the PRWeek 2011 Campaign of the Year and Product Brand Development Campaign of the Year awards. The campaign also made a huge impact on Mattel’s bottom line, boosting sales by 144% the company’s “I Can Be” doll line.


Client: Procter & Gamble/Always

Duration: 2012-present

P&G’s feminine hygiene brand Always transformed the oft-cited insult “…like a girl” into a war cry for girls the world over, launching a confidence movement that has yet to peter out. The campaign showed people of all ages interpreting the phrase “like a girl”, and managed over 76 million viewed on YouTube. The campaign also teamed up with social media influencers to tackle issues of self-confidence in young girls during puberty.

The United Nations bestowed an award on the campaign for its contributions to girls’ empowerment, and, in 2017, a new phase of the campaign was launched to tackled girls’ fear of failure. In 2015, #LikeAGirl was named PRWeek’s Campaign of the Year.

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