I know I'm not the target audience, but I am now the father of a young girl, and I was immediately turned off by these ads. At the same time, I was disappointed in my harsh reaction, since it was obvious that the many people behind these ads clearly had their heart in the right place. So I'm going to try to not be too mean here. But there are some problems.
1) Let's start with a nitpick. There's a pretty well-rounded list of adjectives in the ad, but it includes "sporty". Well, turns out there's already a word for "sporty", and it's called "athletic." Sporty is just a girlier word for athletic. We don't need dumbed-down female versions of words - I would think that's just the sort of thing this ad campaign should be fighting against. It might as well say, "I'm sporty, posh, ginger, baby, and scary." Granted, that would convey girl power, but I'd rather just change it to athletic:
2) Here's another small issue. That same sentence says "I'm creative, a leader, athletic, friendly, bold, honest, playful and unique." That's a tall order, a lot of pressure. It almost sounds like a girl HAS to be ALL those things. Instead, the message should be that she can be anything she likes. She doesn't HAVE to be athletic, and not everyone is a leader. She can be some of those things, or even none. She has the capability to be anything she wants. How about:
3) Here's a much more important issue, indeed the first one that jumped out at me: the use of the word "beautiful". As the final adjective, it's implying that it's the most important one. And if there's one thing we really want to convey to girls, it's that BEAUTY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Why in the world did they go in this direction? You could argue that they are using the word "beautiful" not in the exterior "looks" sense but in the "inner beauty" sense. But there are better words for that: "I'm proud of the way I am", "I'm awesome the way I am", "I'm great the way I am", etc. "Inner beauty" is a subtle connotation that is not the first thing you think of when you see the word "beautiful". (If it was, we wouldn't ever need the prefix-word "inner".) They should have avoided it altogether:
4) Lastly, let's look at the rest of that closing sentence. "I'm beautiful the way I am." What a let-down. Maybe it's just me, but here's what that sounds like: "I'm ok even though I'm not a boy." or "Hey, I was born a girl, but I'm dealing with it." or "I may not have a penis, but I'm almost as good." WTF? It seems so meek and defeatist. Why not go with a more uplifting ending? How about just:
Straightforward and to the point. It should be inspiring. I would be proud for my daughter to see this ad now.
You may argue that I'm nitpicking and wordsmithing this too much. But that's the whole point of feminist critique: that there are subtle biases even in our language that convey that women are not equal to men. I'm really surprised that nobody who helped with this ad thought this way; it's the whole reason for the ad, after all. I've worked at several ad agencies, and trust me, all ads are edited this much. You only have a few words to work with (they used 20), and a few seconds of the audience's time, so you have to make each word count.
Which brings me to my final edit ... something to really make the ad "pop" and grab people's attention. I realized, hey, this ad is for NEW YORK CITY. What says not just "I'm an awesome girl" but "I'm an awesome New Yorker"? How about:
PS. For a better example of empowerment, check out this awesome GoldieBlox ad.