So, it is time for that age – old question again, is public relations an evil force or a force for good? Many would rush to conclude that it is the latter keeping its early practitioners in mind, who were unafraid of calling it with the term “propaganda” before, of course, it gained a negative reputation. Yet, When millions of viewers first saw Procter & Gamble’s campaign video for Always, #LikeAGirl, during a Super Bowl advertisement slot, it seemed like the earth stood still for a few moments. Suddenly a collective epiphany occurred, as people who used the words “like a girl” to describe weakness or inadequacy realised that they were unconsciously putting down women. Indeed, considering the fact that a large percentage of women are too embarrassed to exercise in public due to a concern with how they look, this campaign against gender stereotypes is even more important. A wave of social media reactions followed, by women achieving high results in sport and tagging themselves on social media platforms with #LikeAGirl.
They were running, jumping, swimming and achieving higher than society expected and so actively worked to eradicate the stigma attached to being a woman in sport. What P&G achieved, with the help of Starcom Mediavest, was to create a PR campaign that was integrated with traditional as well as social media in order to empower consumers to choose to make society a better place together with the brand. A further innovative move by the company was to collaborate with TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), which is becoming increasingly popular as a channel to spread innovative thinking and provocative ideas. Naturally, due to its positive message, the campaign became massively successful, gaining more than 59 million views of YouTube as well as great coverage on Twitter. The PR and advertising industries also recognised the significance of the campaign as P&G received the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Nevertheless, the biggest shift that occurred was that this success story showed that PR can become a greater force for the positive transformation of society and the encouragement of authentic corporate responsibility. Indeed there needs to be a balance between the benefits to business and society in order to achieve optimal results.