Jonas & Co, an advertising and production company, just won an Emmy Award for its original spot for Nick Jr., “Girls in Charge: Girl Power Campaign.” The spot plays off the tropes of a Hollywood action movie trailer, blending real girls with Nick Jr. characters. Hema Mulchandani and Jonas Morganstein talk about the alarming research that led to the project.
Cynopsis: How did the collaboration with Nick come about?
Hema Mulchandani & Jonas Morganstein: The genesis of this project started with a report in the journal Science from January 2017 entitled, “Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests.” A batch of recent studies proved that gender stereotyping starts between the ages of five and six. Research showed that at five years old both girls and boys “associated brilliance with their own gender to a similar extent,” but a shift happens after five. By six years of age an increasing number of girls lose confidence in their own intellectual abilities and start to equate “brilliance” as a male trait. We have known this bias exists, but the big shocker is just how young the girls start to self-stereotype. What kind of messages are we putting out to preschoolers to cause this? What alternative messages could we be creating?
Nick Preschool Brand Creative was uniquely positioned to counteract these stereotype misconceptions. Nick Jr. has a slate of strong female characters and the preeminent media platform for preschoolers and their parents. Matthew Perreault, Liza Steinberg-Demby and Lauren Muir from Nick Preschool came to Jonas & Co with the overall creative strategy, the VO script and a short list of featured animated characters. The goal was to produce an epic brand image spot that frames preschool girls as brilliant in all professional fields – including science, tech, problem solving and even physical feats.
Our rallying cry was to portray these girls as bad-ass superstars as we produced the spot – from shoot through post. The team decided not to make these girls into superheroes. Instead we depicted real relatable girls achieving excellence and we portrayed them in a super-heroic style. The cinematography, music, editorial structure and special effects all took their cues from superhero movies and trailers. We brainstormed the perfect set of activities to display the breadth of girl brilliance – a scientist building a mech suit, a whiz kid in a science lab treehouse, a martial arts superstar and more. The Nick Jr. characters are integrated into the spot – making it clear that the real girls are just as heroic and epic as their cartoon idols. Dora The Explorer and Nella The Princess Knight are not unattainable role models. They are partners in excellence.
Cynopsis: What does winning an Emmy mean?
Mulchandani & J Morganstein: This win means that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honors the importance of the subject matter and is dedicated to shift how we all portray girls. It also sends a message to corporations that a spot like this is vital to the brand. Although this promo was not geared toward network tune-in, the goodwill and brand allegiance resulting from this spot is valued well beyond a small bump in viewership. This win elevates the Nick Jr brand, it supports the girl power message and it validates the tremendous effort from the combined Nick Preschool / Jonas & Co team.
Cynopsis: How has brand content/advertising evolved, and where is it going?
Mulchandani & J Morganstein:We’ve seen a shift of consciousness in the last few years. There’s an increased level of awareness about the characters and stories that media makers put out in the world and how that content influences us all – especially those most impressionable. There also appears to be an increased hunger for projects that make a difference – that instigate change. Simon Mainwaring writes that corporations see positive return for taking a role in building a better world. The public rewards companies that leverage it’s brand power to benefit the consumer’s life. Corporations are starting to listen and respond to this. There’s no time like the present to activate your media pulpit – big or small – and layer in some messaging that you are passionate about. You may just make the world a better place. Or if the world still remains jacked up, you may at least win an Emmy.
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