*For the past few days, Procter & Gamble has been getting an earful from all sides throughout the news and social media regarding the video campaign they recently released called “The Talk” via the company’s My Black Is Beautiful initiative.
While many African Americans are applauding the short video, which is part of the consumer giants products’ community-building platform, for its on-the-spot message of dealing with issues of racial bias and police brutality, some are calling foul. P&G is dealing with the controversy head-on.
“When we launched this video a few weeks ago, the first couple of weeks all we were hearing were very positive messages,” Damon Jones, P&G’s director of global company communications, told EURweb.com. “People were like, ‘Thank you for speaking my truth.’ But, it has been a past interesting couple of days where we’ve seen a few people position the ad quite differently and stoke some fires, which frankly I think are beyond the ad itself. It’s been brought into the political realm but that’s the world we live in.”
Conservative websites are all a buzz about how racist the short video is. The “National Review,” calls the campaign, “identity-politics pandering.”
Another conservative site BizPac Review, said, “‘Sick sick sick’ racist Procter & Gamble ad crosses every line! If you are white, brace yourself before watching.”
“There is no monolithic white experience. There is no monolithic black experience,” said Jones. “Our goal and job is to reflect the variety of conversations that are happening and if you look at the totality of the types of campaigns that we’ve run you’ll see that we’ve talked about gender equality and racial equality. Yes, the campaign has sparked a strong reaction in many different parts and we respect everyone’s point of view. The desire and hope is that people come forward and engage in constructive dialogue and that we start from a place of trying to understand a different person’s point of view and that means understand the point of view of the black women who are reflected in the advertising.”
Additionally, many have pointed out that the ad is anti-police. This sentiment played out heavily on P&G’s Facebook page when a white police officer, who adopted two black boys, wrote, “I am a proud parent of 2 African American kiddos and I’m a cop. I will no longer buy any P & G products. Your divisive and biased ads will not create more customers. More will stop buying your products.”
African Americans quickly swooped on the officer with responses such as, “If you have two African-American kids, it would do them well for you to educate yourself on the experience of POC in America. This video could have helped you.”
As the dialogue and arguing will continue, Jones said of the police reaction, “We certainly know and recognize that law enforcement officers go out every day seeking to help our communities. That fact is not lost an anyone but it does not negate the fact that there is that truth among some people. We don’t feature any cops in the commercial. We have respect for them. Just because it’s not your truth that doesn’t mean it’s not someone else’s truth.”
My Black Is Beautiful was started in 2007 by a group of black women employees wanting the company to address black beauty and other issues black women face, which P&G has been acting on.
“We’ve been talking about bias for some time, whether it relates to standards of beauty for black women or bias where it relates to gender,” said Jones. “We launched the program ‘Like a Girl’ back in 2014 and that was to get people to redefine what it’s like to be a girl. So, gender equality and talking about these issues is nothing new to us. We do it because we believe in talking about these topics leads to great understanding and that leads to change. At the core of that, we believe strongly in equality so we have a world that’s not only good for society but for business.”
Jones continued, “In this case, My Black Is Beautiful, we’re obviously talking to women about beauty and hair and things of that nature. However, during those conversations, we want to understand what else is going on in their lives so that we can speak to them more holistically. What we found out in the conversations was that bias continues to be a topic that is very top of mind for our target audience. We wanted to spark a dialogue with not just African American mothers but a lot of people talking about it because it’s been talked about a lot in black communities for generations. When we have more people talking about it then we can really change the overall context of what we’re dealing with.”
For more on Procter & Gamble’s My Black Is Beautiful, click here.