P&G’s new video ‘The Pause’ addresses LGBTQ bias

Dive Brief:

  • Procter & Gamble is honoring Pride Month with a new 60-second video titled “The Pause” that debuted on YouTube on June 18, according to details the company shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The short film focus on the hesitation that members of the LGBTQ community can feel when meeting someone new and having to decide how much of themselves to reveal. “I feel guarded,” remarks one woman as the film opens. “Judgement” and “fear of rejection” are emotions voiced by others in the video.
  • The video, created with Grey New York, ends with the hashtag #LeadWithLove and the message: “When love surrounds, there is no pause.” The video directs viewers to PG.com/LGBTQvisibility to learn how the CPG giant is supporting LGBTQ communities. P&G also said it is working with iHeartRadio to raise $5 million for LGBTQ communities most impacted by COVID-19.

Dive Insight:

With “The Pause,” P&G adds to its growing list of impactful videos addressing social issues. Earlier this month, the company released “The Choice,” a 75-second video that asks white people to leverage their power in American society to fight against racism and backed the message with a multimillion dollar investment. Similar to this earlier video, “The Pause” also urges viewers to consider how they can make a difference in the struggle against prejudice.

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“The film is meant to encourage the broader community to notice, reflect and realize how their reaction and acceptance can make a difference in many lives,” according to a statement about “The Pause.”

Previously, P&G released videos “The Look” and “The Talk,” which both addressed race. P&G brand Gillette featured a father teaching his transgender teen to shave in ad last year.

These efforts have mostly been positive for P&G, garnering strong viewership and, in many cases, positive reactions on social media. “The Pause” looks similarly positioned to resonate well, having reached more than 1.8 million views on YouTube just four days after it was released.

“The Pause” also reflects research conducted by P&G and GLAAD that found showing the LGBTQ community in media, including TV, film and advertising, helps drive acceptance among non-LGBTQ consumers.

The report found that 80% of consumers who were exposed to LGBTQ-inclusive media said they are more supportive of equal rights compared to those who had not recently consumed such media. Additionally, consumers view companies that are inclusive with their advertising more favorably in a general sense, with 82% of those surveyed for the “LGBTQ Inclusion in Advertising and Media” study, saying they feel marketing efforts to promote LGBTQ representation are reflective of a brand valuing all forms of diversity.

The challenge for brands is to create inclusive advertising that comes across as authentic, reflects a company’s values and doesn’t feel as though brands are trying to profit from a highly visible celebration like Pride. Marketing around Pride has become an issue for some brands as members of the LGBTQ community call out brands for exploiting an event meant to focus on social progress.

To help marketers avoid a “rainbow washing” backlash, P&G and GLAAD partnered with the Association of National Advertisers on new LGBTQ advertising benchmarks. The suggested best practices include prioritizing the “critical gaps” in LGBTQ representation in ads and ensuring portrayals are accurate and authentic.

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