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What Do Teenage Girls Think Of #Femvertising?

At Cannes Lions this year, Unilever CMO Keith Weed declared ‘the time is right for us as an industry to challenge and change how we portray gender in our advertising’. His message was backed up by the announcement of the FMCG giant’s UnStereotype initiative, and comes in the wake of a steady rise in empowering portrayals of women in ads. 

Brands like Always and Dove have been leading the charge in recent years, shifting their marketing efforts towards realistic representations of women and highlighting causes that champion gender equality.

A big theme for many of these so-called #femvertising spots has been encouraging young women and girls to be more confident, to grab opportunities, and not to worry about preconceptions. But how well have these messages been communicated?

At Unruly we’ve been joined by girls from across London over the past few weeks on work experience placements, so we thought we’d get them to weigh in on some of the biggest and best #femvertising ads.


4. Always – #LikeAGirl – Keep Playing


Biba – I liked the way the beat in the background matched the increasingly powerful message, and that all the girls came from different backgrounds.”

Tiger – “Cool, but not that diverse? They want the message to be ‘girls can do it’, but so far the girls interviewed are predominantly white. Asian girls seem to not feature heavily in campaigns like these… The tone and style was good but a bit slow. If it popped up, I might not continue watching.”

Maddie – “I found this really engaging and it felt like it was talking to girls of my age. Would definitely make me think twice before quitting a sport. Also, it is very true and current.”


3. Global Goals – #WhatIReallyReallyWant

Biba – I really, really loved the concept and the song. But I felt at times it came across a bit aggressive because of all that was going on, so it was hard to read some of the words on the screen.”

Tiger – A bit mad, but very fun. Not sure if the message was conveyed, but in terms of whether I would click ‘skip ad’ or not, I’d watch this one through.”

Maddie – I found this a bit cringey to be honest. The message was not really clear, as the points were skipped over quickly and did not correspond to the action in the video. However, it was quite engaging as there was a lot going on and it had quite a ‘fun’ feel.”


2. Under Armour – Rule Yourself


Biba – Again, I loved the background music, which felt really empowering, and that there was a such a display of strength and power from the girls, particularly the moments in slow motion.”

Tiger – I really liked this one – not sure what the message was, but it definitely made me want to do gymnastics/sports.”

Maddie – After watching this the first time I was confused about the text at the end, and the message of the advert. However, it showed the skill and determination of the gymnasts and is quite inspiring for young girls.”


1. Sport England – This Girl Can


Biba – “I liked that it wasn’t attempting to make the women look attractive, it was just raw footage. But I feel it’s not just larger girls who should be empowered in the ad, because personally I know people who are told ‘they can’t’ because they are ‘too skinny’, but that’s just their body type. So I guess the video just shows one side of it.”

Tiger – “This Girl Can was the best in my opinion. The music was really good and went well with the visuals. It made me want to do exercise, but unlike Under Armour, which made me want to look like a gymnast, this ad focused on how exercise FEELS good, which I think is a nice message.”

Maddie – “It has a very ‘girl power’ feel to it, which makes you feel motivated to do sport and proud to be a girl. However, I couldn’t help noticing that hardly any Asian girls were featured. Good for body confidence also.”