When it comes to historical record, corporations tend to look at their own past through rose-colored marketing glasses. No brand wants to relive its most sexist, racist ads of yesteryear, just like no company willingly talks about discrimination once found in its workplace. Of course, a lot of this is simply because advertising generally reflects societal norms, as do the policy and behavior within large companies. All of this is why P&G’s new short doc, The Words Matter, is such a refreshing piece of work.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the world’s biggest advertiser including sexual orientation into its corporate diversity policy, P&G teamed with CNN’s Great Big Story on a 20-minute doc that dives right into just how it happened. It’s far from a hand-holding skip down memory lane. Former employee and LGBTQ activist Michael Chanak, and a core team of fellow employees, petitioned the company for years to make it happen–and the film doesn’t shy away from the reasons it took so long to implement. At one point, Chamak remembers, “I’d walk down the hall and get called ‘faggot’ by some folks. That’s the work environment.”
It’s a strong piece of work, and by telling the story with warts and all, P&G actually made itself look even better. Onward!
P&G “The Words Matter”
What: A short film about how P&G added sexual orientation to its corporate diversity policy back in 1992.
Who: P&G, Great Big Story
Why we care: A fascinating, challenging, and ultimately heartwarming story that also happens to outline the business case for being as inclusive as possible.
Nike “Shoe Therapy”
What: A new Nike ad campaign that takes our sneaker obsession to the therapist couch.
Who: Nike, Dirty Robber
Why we care: An insightful and clever way to address our culture’s current obsession with sneakers, whether as an athletic tool or a fashion statement. And with a waiting room of Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, skateboarding legend Paul Rodriguez, San Francisco 49ers’ Richard Sherman, and streetwear retailer Sean Wotherspoon, it’s the perfect setup for subsequent spots.
Devour “Deadpool 2”
What: A Deadpool 2 marketing tie-in with Devour frozen meals.
Who: Devour, Wildness, 20th Century Fox
Why we care: A fun, first taste of Deadpool as product tie-in pitchman, that thankfully keeps his fourth wall-busting self-awareness firmly intact.
Sea Shepherd “The Plastic Ocean”
What: A PSA that takes an artistic approach to telling us that more than 1 million marine animals die every year from plastic debris.
Who: Sea Shepherd, Fred & Farid New York
Why we care: A Koons-ian interpretation of marine life until the shrieks and squeals of dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, and more suggest a giant plastic sheet has been pulled over the planet’s best-known ocean life. Ugh, its effectiveness is in direct proportion to how awful we deserve to feel about all this.
What: A U.K. PSA campaign aimed at raising awareness around cyberbullying.
Who: Cybersmile, Adam&eveDDB
Why we care: When body-positive Instagrammer Chessie King changes her body at the request and insults of online commenters, it becomes horrifyingly clear just how deeply trolls can mess with people’s body image.