Do you know that 62 million girls are denied education all over the world? [Source: UN foundation] One in three women across the 28 EU states have experienced some form of physical or sexual abuse since the age of 15. [2014 EU report] That at least 1000 honor killings occur annually in both India and Pakistan. [source HBVA] That women around the world aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war, and malaria. High school girls is a communication campaign for the Japanese multinational personal care company Shiseido and come from the Japanese agency Watts of Tokyo.
Agency and production house Watts of Tokyo created this ad for Shiseido to prove the magic of makeup but they did a lot more than that. Midway into the ad they pulled a surprise and hit the nerve. This breakthrough messaging shatters any sense of gender discrimination that once plagued your thoughts. It not just embraces but challenges the duality of gender.
The High School Girls ad is the kind of disruptive messaging that the best advertising is made of.
If you are wondering what is written inside the open book, it has something in Japanese that when translated into English reads, “Did you realize that there are boys in this classroom?”. The tagline, at the end says: Anyone can be cute.
Checkout is the same High School Girls ad in reverse.
The duality of gender is visible in the art-work below. An expression of how in a 3-dimensional map both the male and feminine sides become part of the same face and the same entity. The picture in the Shiseido ad makes us question that somehow the duality is only their reflection onto one-another: like a shadow on a different plane and a child identifying it as a separate entity.