Of all the attempts at making inspirational Olympic ads this year, one of the most successful and unexpected came in the closing moments.
CoverGirl's "#GirlsCan" spot, by Grey in New York, brings together some of today's most influential women. And instead of simply celebrating their beauty, the Procter & Gamble brand creates a candid and compelling rallying cry for female empowerment.
Doubters might say a message like "Girls Can" is overly vague or even pandering, but the ad's strength is in the credibility and confidence of its women—who are about as far as you can get from vapid cosmetic shills.
"I heard that girls couldn't rap. I rap," says Queen Latifah, whose smirk and swagger are probably the best part of the whole spot. "Girls couldn't own their own businesses? I own my own business."
In another moment that resonated with many viewers as an act of subtle solidarity, Sofia Vergara delivers her first line in Spanish, mocking the idea that "girls can't play lead."
Also featured are Ellen DeGeneres, Pink, Katy Perry, soul singer Janelle Monae, 16-year-old rapper Becky G and an unnamed hockey player. Thanks in part to its star power but largely to its message, the ad has gained a lot of positive buzz in the short time since it debuted during Sunday's Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Games on NBC.
The YouTube clip had more than 3,000 "thumbs up" and just seven downvotes as of this morning. "This is the one ad on YouTube that I don't hate!" notes one commenter.
The #GirlsCan hashtag has also caught on, getting an early boost on Twitter from the featured celebrities before the ad's premiere. Since the spot aired, more than 1,500 tweets have mentioned the hashtag, with several high-profile women weighing in.
"Love the new @COVERGIRL campaign!," tweeted veteran ESPN journalist Chris McKendry. "Was told 25 years ago girls can't 'do' TV sports. Oh, #girlscan."
Agency: Grey, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
Creative: Alice Ericsson, Natsuko Bosaka, Anne Stesney
Producer: Keira Rosenthal
Account: Seema Patel, Ernesto James, Lindsey Kantarian, Andreina Montefusco
Business Manager: Deborah Haas
Music Producer: Josh Rabinowitz
Talent Manager: Lisa Pierce