Thursday, 2 March 2017
Apologies if I start sounding like a broken record (maybe 4 Non-Blondes?) as I've recently blogged about this subject. But with International Women's Day fast approaching (on March 8th), there has been a splurge of yet more brands and companies desperate to show just how determined they are to lead the fight against inequality.
International Women's Day celebrates women's social, economic, cultural and political achievements (although I don't think Marine Le Pen's or Frauke Petry's 'achievements' come high on the list to be celebrated). This is important, as there are many countries in the world where women do not have equal opportunities and it's vital to raise awareness and prompt action to change.
But I can't help thinking that when brands and companies start leaping on this rather over-loaded band waggon, that the people involved in creating the communications are either naive or cynical.
Take P&G's new commercial #WeSeeEqual. This 'shows men, women, boys and girls defying gender stereotypes.'
OK. I looked carefully, and unless the baby is a boy, there are no boys to be seen. Could this be because P&G don't make any products specifically for boys? Or am I being cynical now? And are these people really defying gender stereotypes? What century are we in? I'm afraid the only stereotypes I can see are a load of advertising cliches: the tattooed beefy dad changing a nappy (not very competently), the bungee-jumping granny, the brainy women in glasses. All accompanied by the rather tired 'What's Up' soundtrack.
I appreciate that P&G have made some positive steps forward in terms of women in their senior management, which is good to see. But I have a feeling that this film falls into the category of protesting too much. Maybe decades of advertising featuring housewives obsessing about stains and smells leaves a guilty corporate conscience.
And it's only a few years ago that the same company were busy 'thanking moms' in their communication.
I'd love to see a company the size of P&G really use their clout to change something in the world, instead of producing wallpaper.