A Facebook friend shared the the video below on her feed. I watched, moved to tears. It spoke a thousand truths, especially to a mother of daughters. But this isn’t a message from a cause campaigning for gender equality awareness, it’s from Always – a Procter & Gamble brand. Could big brands finally be investing in the marketing currency of RESPECT?
The advert reminded me of a time I was playing rounders with the company several years ago. The general manager at the time had already brought a significant level of professionalism to a workplace that, in my perception, was emerging out of the ‘boys club ‘dark ages. It was becoming a more comfortable place to work for everyone. I was fielding, I threw the ball, when one of the male executives shouted, ‘Come on Claire, you throw like a girl,’ fuming inside, I calmly but firmly retorted, ‘I am a girl’. Not the wittiest comeback, I clearly, technically wasn’t a girl but I was making a point: what is wrong with throwing like a girl? Which is why this advert struck a chord with me.
However, Procter and Gamble are one of those companies who are complicit in amplifying stereotypes to sell products and not always in this very progressive, ‘right-on’ fashion. They are the umbrella under which brands like Max Factor, Wella, Braun, Gillette, Ariel and the dreadful, kitchen sink saga of Fairy Liquid. So can we expect to see more respectful marketing for those brands? Perhaps Max Factor will lead the way in systematically NOT airbrushing models or the male Gillette shavers in their ads not be ridiculously ripped, tanned or famous (nor promote hideous vanity chest shaving !).
I applaud this effort, don’t get me wrong but big companies like this could have done SO much more and sooner. It is only now, with the advent of positive messages continually going viral on the internet, marketeers are realising the value of the currency of RESPECT. And I think we should all make them work for it.