Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Because I'm A Girl...I Can See the Full Ad?

February 21, 2012

What do you think?

An outdoor 40-second "Choices for Girls" advertisement showcases three 13 year-old girls: Jasmine from the UK, Bintou from Mali and Sur from Thailand.  The girls speak as we see footage from their every day lives; lives filled with hope but also, for Bintou and Sur, with the reality of a lack of choices for girls in developing countries.

But if you're a male, you won't see any of this.

A new kind of interactive advertisement being tested in the UK shows one ad to females who walk by the ad- and another to males. A high-definition camera scans the faces of passers-by to figure out their gender. According to PSFK, the site which originally published the article, "The built-in system has a 90 per cent accuracy rate in analyzing a person’s facial features and determining if they’re a male or female."

But before you decide whether this is just creepy, consider the organization and its goal behind the ad. The outdoor display was created by Plan UK, a non-profit organization (and foundation partner) which works to provide children in developing countries with a variety of tools to ensure a better life: from access to clean water to education.

But why the difference in ads between males and females?

The social media site Mashable notes, "Female passersby will be shown the full 40-second video of its ‘Because I’m a Girl’ campaign that promotes sponsoring a girl to receive proper education in a developing country. Males won’t be able to see the full ad and will be directed to Plan UK’s website instead. The purpose of this was to show men “a glimpse of what it’s like to have basic choices taken away.”

The outdoor Plan UK advertisement

It's an extremely interesting and innovative way of harnessing technology for social change. Ultimately, Plan UK is hoping to raise funds for its "Because I'm a Girl" campaign; in order to support 4 million girls to have more choices for what they do with their lives. From the Plan UK site:

"Currently, 75 million girls around the world are being denied the right to an education; every year 10 million girls in developing countries are coerced or forced into marriage under the age of 18, with thousands of girls each year giving birth when they are still children themselves."

But Marie Staunton, the CEO of Plan UK says that even though men and boys won't be shown the full ad, they still have a critical role to play in the campaign, “Although we’re not giving men and boys the choice to see the full ad on this occasion – so we get a glimpse of what it’s like to have basic choices taken away – boys and men play a vital role in helping girls to be all they can be. Men and boys are also invited to join ‘the Plan’ to give girls choices. We look forward to hearing the public’s thoughts at #choicesforgirls.”

 
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