When you think of a shampoo advert does your mind jump to a battle against inequality, sexism and the glass ceiling?
But that’s exactly what Pantene has done in their latest video ad, Labels Against Women, in the Philippines.
While all the female models do possess beautiful hair, the ad concentrates on the struggles women face in the workplace. The advert centres on the differing ways men and women are perceived, and how one perception is positive, while the other is negative. In fact the actual shampoo does not make an appearance once in this advert.
It makes a powerful statement about the way career women are regarded in society – as bossy, aggressive and neglectful of their families. In contrast the male figure is depicted as powerful, dedicated and successful.
Pantene aren’t the first brand to confront social norms and politics. Dove’s Real Women campaign, which used women of all shapes and sizes rather than stick-thin models, also put the product aside in order to make a social statement.
But are they just jumping on the feminist bandwagon in an attempt to shift more bottles of shampoo? A cynic might say yes, but any attempt to bring these issues to the fore and generate conversation around equality in the workplace is a valuable contribution to our society. The Pantene advert certainly struck a chord with audiences; it has already been viewed over 5 million times.
As companies increasingly widen their brand messaging, it is encouraging to see brands like Pantene tackle commonplace everyday injustices. The more these issues are discussed the more quickly we can move towards equality.