Photo source: adforum.com
Pantene, one of the most known and appreciated shampoo brand in the world, valiantly tackles a very delicate issue in its latest ad campaign, Labels against Women. If normally, shampoo ads do nothing more than make women feel self conscious about not having the perfect, shiny hair with no split ends, this one is actually empowering and sheds some light on the double standards affecting women in the workplace.
One might think that in the 21st century women have equal chances as men at work. It’s sad to acknowledge that it is not so. Workplace gender inequality still exists. This ad might not make you want to buy a shampoo from Pantene, but it could very well make you want to conquer the world.
Pantene tackles the “Glass Ceiling” phenomenon, that is characterized by the utmost gender bias. A man and a woman, both with the same education, achievements, experience and other similar traits compete for a leadership position. The one to get the job will almost certainly be the man. Women are only allowed to climb so much on the ladder, until hitting their heads against the glass ceiling. One study even demonstrated that a woman’s name determined if she would get a job as a judge or not. The more masculine the name, the better the chances of succeeding. The same happened to author Joanne Rowling, who was advised by her editor to publish as JK Rowling, as it had a more masculine sound to it.
What’s even more intriguing is the fact that not only men discriminate against women, but also women discriminate against other women. When given resumes of both men and women, the subject in a recent study both assigned lower salaries and competence to female candidates.
Underlining all this is a concept made popular by Sheryl Sandberg, in a well-know Ted Talk. The “likability gap” as she calls it, highlights how power and likability go hand in hand for men, while for women, the more power they have, the less liked they become.
That’s visible in the first frame of the Pantene ad, in which the man is called “boss” while the woman is called “ bossy”. A man is “persuasive” a woman is “pushy”, a man is “smooth” a woman is a “show-off”.
The ad went viral and the campaign is very popular. Created by BBDO Philippines, the campaign receives constant impressions on social media, the hashtag #whipit is highly popular on Twitter, discussions are heated on Facebook , and the views on YouTube keep on rolling.
It’s time to take a stand and fight against gender inequality at the workplace. What will you do for the cause? What do you think of Pantene ‘s initiative? Women around the world, don’t forget: Don’t let labels hold you back!
References: adweek.com, policymic.com, ibnlive.in.com
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