A viral video campaign with an important social message that was created by a Toronto agency is the big Canadian winner at the Webby Awards this year, taking home 11 of the silver spiral trophies from the 19th annual competition that seeks to honour the best content on the Internet.

The #LikeAGirl campaign by Leo Burnett Toronto for Always, a Proctor & Gamble brand that sells feminine hygiene products, won awards across multiple categories. It was awarded for viral marketing, online commercials (interactive advertising & media) short form, viral (online film & video), best use of video, and corporate communications (social). Published on Youtube June 26, 2014, the video has been viewed more than 56.8 million times.

Awarded every year by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS), the Webbys are determined by a panel of judges, which this year included both entertainment-industry and Internet luminaries such as late night talk-show host Conan O’Brien, online media baronness Arianna Huffington, Internet engineer Viint Cerf, Youtube star Freddie Wong, and Harvard professor Susan P. Crawford.

There’s also a component of the awards program that is driven by Internet voting, the Webby People’s Voice Awards, and #LikeAGirl also won several trophies here. Five awards were given to the campaign by the more than 500,000 voters for the awards, more than any other single nominee.

The video picks apart the use of the phrase “like a girl” as a derogatory term usually targeted at adolescents. It starts by featuring adults and asking them to mime certain actions – such as throw a ball, or run – “like a girl.” After that, the same is done with young girls and the contrast in how they perform the actions is striking.

In the Youtube video description, video director Lauren Greenfield is quoted as saying:

“In my work as a documentarian, I have witnessed the confidence crisis among girls and the negative impact of stereotypes first-hand… When the words ‘like a

Director Lauren Greenfield was called upon to play a leading role for the #LikeAGirl video.
Director Lauren Greenfield was called upon to play a leading role for the #LikeAGirl video.

girl’ are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering. I am proud to partner with Always to shed light on how this simple phrase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women. I am excited to be a part of the movement to redefine ‘like a girl’ into a positive affirmation.”

The #LikeAGirl campaign isn’t the only Canadian winner at this year’s Webby Awards. Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s website is being recognized in the responsive website category. Created by Toronto-based Zync Communications Inc. the website smoothly adapts to any screen size and device. It tracks Hadfields activities on social media and lists his appearances at public events, in addition to serving as a repository for the multimedia materials Hadfield produced during his tenure as commander of the International Space Station.

An award ceremony that features five-word acceptance speeches from the award winners will be available to view on demand from webbyawards.com as of May 19 at 9 AM ET. The show will be hosted by Hannibal Buress and hosted at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.

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  • P E

    When I took my nephew to the movie Echo I was completely
    discussed by that line being used in the movie. I looked around the theater and
    saw all the little girls there absorb that line and without a doubt not
    register it on a conscious level but did so subconsciously. I wanted to stand
    up and tell them that if the he in the movie acted like a boy because he was a
    boy. I didn’t of course not wanting to ruin the movie or disturb the overall
    enjoyment the children were having. I did however talk to my nephew about it
    after the movie.