Miss America 2.0

Miss America Organization • VMLY&R New York

Miss America’s purpose was dwarfed by its most controversial symbol -- the bikini. Through research and cultural analysis, we found that the swimsuit competition was a key part of the brand’s plummeting relevance. It was also a barrier to reaching its target audiences: brand partners and young women. In the era of #TimesUp and #MeToo, the swimsuit competition was tone deaf. If the swimsuit symbolized everything that Miss America had become in the public consciousness, getting rid of it symbolized everything that Miss America wanted to be.

So we said goodbye to the bikinis, making headlines in every major news publication and sparking conversation around the world. Liberated from its beauty-focused components, the competition’s structure changed completely, instead highlighting candidates’ achievements and platforms. It refocused the organization on its core values of women’s empowerment, leadership and scholarship, and paved the way for Miss America 2.0.

Cannes Recognition

1 Bronze: PR

2 Shortlists: Glass: The Lion for Change, Brand Experience & Activation