Miss America launches #MissConceptions to break stereotypes

Y&R created a series of short films with a brand desperate to shed its former shell.

Miss America contestants aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, right?

Wrong.

That’s just one stereotype the Miss America Organization hopes to banish with its latest social campaign, "#MissConceptions."

A series of short films, created by Y&R New York, are being rolled out on the brand’s YouTube channel in the lead-up to the September 9 competition on ABC.  

It highlights candidates like one woman who aspires to be a diplomat working on counterterrorism, another training to be a commercial jet pilot, and one who has developed a prototype tile that generates electricity as you walk on it. All are committed to making a difference in their communities and the world.   

Leslie Sims, chief creative officer of Y&R North America, said: "The Miss America show itself has always been an icon, but as a brand, its relevance was marching off a cliff — which is what happens when heritage brands don’t keep up with culture.

"Audiences have been shrinking, sponsors have been dropping off and the number of applicants was at an all-time low. Miss America 2.0 is a much-needed reboot, and it’s been amazing to work on reimagining the whole brand and experience."

In the past year, the Miss America Organization has redefined its mission: "To prepare great women for the world, and to prepare the world for great women."

The most dramatic change to the competition was the elimination of the swimsuit section. Miss America candidates are no longer be judged by outward physical appearance. Their evening attire will be of the candidates own choosing, whether it’s their favorite jeans or a ball gown. Talent remains a distinguishing feature of the competition.

"Miss America is, at its heart, an organization that funds scholarships that allow young women to act on their dreams," said Gretchen Carlson, chair of the Miss America Organization. "It also gives them a very large megaphone to advocate for social causes that are important to them.  

"This campaign will help us shatter some of the stereotypes that diminish both the competition and its candidates, empowering them to do great good and be positive role models. Rather than judging on their appearance, we are showing off their intellect, passions, talents and interests."

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