If you haven’t seen it already, it’s definitely worth taking a look at Pantene’s recent advertising spot ‘labels against women’ (created by BBDO).
With minimalist precision the ad neatly explores the double standards with which we perceive and respond to men and women: men as the boss, women as bossy, men as neat, women as vain and so on. It’s better watched than described, so check it out here.
A a piece of film-making it is highly effective, operating via a simple system of binaries. It is the simplicity, and the easily recognisable truths it deals in, which make the film so powerful. The spot has resonated with women around the world, clocking up 5.8 million youtube views (at the time of writing) and recently endorsed by none other than Sheryl Sandberg. As a piece of advertising, connecting so profoundly with the fundamental concerns of its target audience, it is also extremely smart.
However, I have to confess to feeling a little niggle about a beauty brand tapping into feminism to sell shampoo. And can anyone operating in the beauty industry, which has done so much to stereotype, undermine and diminish women, for profit, really claim to be on their side?
That said, if this marks a shift towards more thoughtful and interesting advertising to women, it can’t be a bad thing. Can it?
And just for fun, whilst researching this blog I came across a veritable cornucopia of 80s Pantene ads, my favourite of which being this: