Following up a smash hit is tough. It doesn’t matter if it’s an album, movie, TV show, book, or yes, even an ad campaign: people’s expectations, the innate desire to make progress, do better, go above and beyond–it’s all there, hanging over things like a giant dark cloud holding up two middle fingers daring you to fail. That’s why, when a follow-up is actually good, it comes, to some degree, as a surprise.
After a year of delighting millions online and during the Super Bowl, and picking up a collection of awards, Always this week debuted the next chapter of its hit #LikeAGirl campaign. It doesn’t benefit from the element of surprise the first one did, but the brand and agency Leo Burnett were smart to keep it in step with the original–in style and format–just enough for it to feel like a natural extension. And once again, director Lauren Greenfield found a charming group of young women, asked them another compelling question, and came away with a perfect follow-up that should measure up to expectations and, more importantly, help keep the discussion of gender equality and confidence in play.
Read on for more about that campaign and the rest of our picks for this week’s best in brand creativity.
What: A new short doc makes the case for removing four dams along the Snake River in the Pacific Northwest to help restore America’s greatest salmon river.
Why We Care: This is a continuation of the brand’s 2014 doc DamNation, which dealt with removing deadbeat dams around the U.S. to help restore natural river habitats. It’s an informative, focused story that uses both economic and environmental arguments to make its case. It also happens to tie in perfectly with the brand’s stated mission to turn outdoor enthusiasts into activists.
What: The third film in Coke’s #TrueFriendship campaign in Latin America, directed by Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black, is an affecting tale of friendship tailored for Pride Month.
Who: Coke, Pereira O’Dell, Dustin Lance Black
Why We Care: The short answer is it’s a great little story about friends and being a teenager, but with a bigger purpose. As Black said in a brand statement, “As an artist, I feel I have a responsibility to share the stories of who LGBT people truly are in order to dispel any atmosphere of fear that might prevent LGBT people from sharing their lives openly.”
What: The next step in the globally viral blockbuster #LikeAGirl campaign.
Who: Always, Leo Burnett
Why We Care: Obviously the first one was good. Kabillions of people can tell you that. But the brand smartly followed it up with another good question for young women about the often hidden constraints society puts on them because of their gender. The result is another charming, sad, yet ultimately inspiring brand film.
What: Research by the U.K. charity Scope showed that more than three-quarters of British people feel awkward around disabled people, so it made a very cool film especially for National Kissing Day.
Who: Scope, Grey London
Why We Care: By showing people with disabilities in intimate moments, the film really focuses on the obvious fact that they’re real humans, with real emotions. It’s effective because it isn’t immediately on the nose about being a PSA for a disability charity, instead playing on the familiarity of these moments to draw in the viewer and, ultimately, illustrate that there’s no reason to feel awkward because, when it comes to the basics, we’re all the same.
What: An artful, slow-motion look at the moment a baby unleashes the thunder down under.
Who: Pampers, Saatchi & Saatchi London
Why We Care: First of all, babies are adorable so basically any commercial featuring a baby is instantly cuter. Like old men and bowler hats. It’s science. Here Pampers uses a moment all parents are intimately familiar with. It’s the red face, watery eyes, confused exertion of bodily pressure that sends moms and dads scrambling for something else to do so the other one has to deal with the aftermath. In short, a great idea for marketing diapers and wipes.