The Girl Effect Parodied


Visualisation techniques can make your data really accessible and clear but if not used properly, they can also tell your story wrong, complicate your message or oversimplify an issue. This is the case with the first video of the “Girl Effect”, a campaign created by the Nike Foundation to raise money for girls education in developing countries.


Although the video has some really nice visuals and is a good example of the creative use of typography, it fails to adequately capture its audience because it oversimplifies the issue of social development. In trying to show viewers the situation of many girls living in poverty and how girls can be powerful agents of social change if their futures are invested in, the video ends up making radical generalisations and an all too simplistic linear equation for how change happens. It discounts other factors affecting women such as gender based violence and simply assumes that if a girl is given the money to go to school, she will become a thriving self-sufficient entrepreneur (selling milk) and influence other girls to do the same, leading to a stronger economy for her village, peace and finally “a better world.”

When watching this video on Youtube, you'll quickly notice a string of parody videos showing up in the suggestions panel. “The Idiot Effect”, created by the people from, not only pokes fun at the campaign video but the creators of it too. It jokingly suggests that the world's problems can be solved by “buying Nike sneakers”and ultimately implies that The Girl Effect is another example of “corporate brainwashing”.

Many of these spoof videos have been viewed nearly as many times as the original video. This is a good example of how a social media platform like Youtube can actually undermine your campaign message better than it can help distribute it. There are of course always people who will find things wrong with your campaign but ultimately if you have a legitimate, strong and well articulated message, these criticisms will be constructive rather than outright admonishing.