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The Birth Of An Idea: Ads To Rebrand Girls

Fast Company asked several of the most creative ad agencies in the world to rebrand baby girls. Their mock campaigns recast girls as the No. 1 choice for consumers from China to the U.S.

Everybody Shout

Target Demo: Men Around the World

The Ad Folks:
Shout is part of She Says, a network of 3,000 ad women who collaborate outside their day jobs on campaigns directed at women.

Their Campaign Strategy:
This ad shouts what studies suggest—that female leaders can be more empathetic and inspirational. The ad evokes movie posters because its creators "expect to see plenty of successful females coming soon to a corporation, startup, or Oval Office near you."

Cramer-Krasselt

Target Demo: U.S. Couples

The Ad Folks:
This Chicago-based agency is America's second-largest indie and has worked with Corona, Hilton, and Porsche.

Their Campaign Strategy:
Ads mock the conventional choice by presenting challenging, funny facts about raising boys. National print ads, signage in pregnancy-test sections of drugstores, and QR (quick-response) codes on boys' clothing in retail outlets steer prospective parents to more data at hopeitsagirl.com.

AKQA

Target Demo: Affluent Women in China

The Ad Folks:
This digital agency headquartered in San Francisco has done campaigns for Heineken, Gap, Nike, and the Xbox 360.

Their Campaign Strategy:
To help rural Chinese see women as precious, ads will nudge urban professionals, whose cultural influence is vast. The character on the lips is the female version of the word ni ("you"). The ad aims to speak to those who know they have value and those who don't yet see that.

Leo Burnett

Target Demo: U.S. Men and Women

The Ad Folks:
Chicago's legendary agency currently handles Allstate, Proctor & Gamble, McDonald's—and many more.

Their Campaign Strategy:
The "Accidental Daughters" campaign would use humor and irreverence to upset stereotypes. First up would be Amy Poehler, followed by a series of other successful, iconoclastic women, like Lady Gaga.

72andSunny

Target Demo: U.S. Younger Males

The Ad Folks:
From L.A. and Amsterdam, these are the people who brought you K-Swiss sneakers "sponsored by" Kenny Powers.

Their Campaign Strategy:
With cheeky fake blurbs, this campaign appeals to would-be dads by hyping baby girls as the "high-performance" child. The downloadable configurator app borrows from popular high-performance automobile apps. Your girl as a souped-up Mustang—that's an equation a guy can love.

LatinWorks

target demo: U.S. Men and Women

The Ad Folks:
The Austin indie has created popular campaigns for Domino's and Starburst in the Hispanic market.

Their Campaign Strategy:
In a world that holds to a lot of false generalizations about women, this campaign simply aims to push facts that paint a favorable picture of girls. Many boys are loyal and compassionate—but according to the data, girls have those traits more often.

Everybody Shout

Target Demo: U.S. Males

The Ad Folks:
A team of female creatives from the She Says advertising network, which goes under the agency name Shout, created a series of provocative ads, including a concept titled, "Do It for Her."

Their Campaign Strategy:
The ad makes a case for why girls deserve a chance in a heartfelt, yet provocative way. The "positions" series could be a campaign that also becomes a series of stunts to get people talking about the many reasons why they "do it," including quirky yet, uh, educational executions. Point is: However you do it—just do it for her.

Cramer-Krasselt

Target Demo: U.S. Males

The Ad Folks:
For our challenge, the competition between the two offices of Cramer-Krasselt pitted two of their creative teams in two different offices—Milwaukee and Chicago—to compete for the top ad spot. The Milwaukee team's "Hope It's A Girl" campaign made it into the magazine but their second runner-up, "Don't Diss Daughters" was too good to leave on the cutting room floor.

Their Campaign Strategy:
The message is a humorous reality check: your future little girl doesn't get to choose you either. A fully-function website, www.dontdissdaughters.com, helps drive the point home: before you go dissing girls, take a good look at yourself as a future dad.

Cheil North America

Target Demo: Women, Future Parents In China/Global Market

The Ad Folks:
The award-winning global marketing company, headquartered in South Korea (with offices in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada) specializes in Asian markets and has been the longtime agency of Samsung.

Their Campaign Strategy:
Here, the potential of a young woman is realized—in the form of an ad for a bestselling book by a fictional future CEO. That is, if she had been allowed to be born. The exploration of that thwarted potential is sobering and impactful—yet still remains optimistic.

Related:
The Case For Girls
Louis C.K.: The Next Steve Jobs Will Be a Chick

A version of this article appeared in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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