Friday, December 20, 2013

Pantene Challenges Gender Bias in the Workplace

Early in 2013, the issue of gender bias in the workplace made headlines in a big way as a result of Sheryl Sandberg’s global bestseller Lean In, which examined why women are still struggling to make progress and encourages women to overcome it.

More recently, Pantene caused a stir in the Philippines and around the world with an online video (link) tackling gender labels. In a little more than a month, the video generated more than seven million views and thousands of comments around the globe.

The 60-second film explores hidden gender double standards in the workplace – a theme inspired by the fact that there still exists a notion that women cannot be too assertive or strong-willed when it comes to getting what they want.

“Our Pantene team ran a study in the Philippines, and was surprised to learn that 70% of men think that women need to downplay their personality to be accepted in the workplace,” commented Mathieu Sidokpohou, Marketing Director Hair Care South East Asia at Procter & Gamble. 

Author and COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg commented on her personal Facebook page: “This is one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen illustrating how when women and men do the same things, they are seen in completely different ways [it’s] really worth watching. Lean In prize of the day for sure!” 

Forbes on the other hand, has quoted the video for portraying gender labels effectively, while Time has lauded Pantene’s efforts to break down ever sexist workplace stereotype in one ad.

Through pure organic growth and virality, the video has made waves in the United States, on programmes such as ABC World News Tonight and even Good Morning America. Today, Pantene has earned 241,100,081 overall earned media impressions and 227,072,270 digitally.

Created in the Philippines, the integrated #WhipIt campaign ignited conversations well beyond its region and has now reached Singapore.

Boldly asking questions such as “Why is he called ‘BOSS’ but she’s called ‘BOSSY?’”, the simple video was made with the intent of highlighting the bias and encouraging women to stay strong and shine. Pantene Global research has shown that strong, beautiful hair helps women to feel confident and empowered.

However, this issue of labels and double standards are holding women back from embracing and showcasing this confidence.

“Pantene and P&G brands reach billions of women around the world and we want to use this scale and influence to be an agent of change. We are excited about Singapore’s upcoming #WhipIt campaign to help women embrace their strength and shine,” said Mathieu Sidokpohou, Marketing Director Hair Care South East Asia at Procter & Gamble.