Let's Talk about P&G's "The Talk"

August 7, 2017 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai

The word “The Talk” means something different to different people.

Admit it. The first thing that came to your mind was the birds and the bees. But this is not that kind of talk. Far from it.

P&G recently released a spot called “The Talk”, as a part of its My Black is Beautiful initiative launched back in 2006. It very clearly opens a conversation about the conversations we have, but don’t want to have. Or the conversations some people are uncomfortable acknowledging. The campaign aims to #TalkAboutBias.

It’s a necessary conversation to have but one that a lot of us, especially brands are uneasy with doing so.

Truth is, it has to happen. And watching this spot at The Tite Group sparked a conversation.

It’s what captured our minutes this week.

Here’s the main reason why: brands, marketers and advertisers have the power to reach huge numbers of people and consequently, should start asking themselves how they fit into the conversations of larger issues like racial prejudice.

This spot was done really well.

The storytelling made sense and was accurate. There was no product placement. The conversations challenged people and their capability to empathize.

Check, check, check.

But when we’re talking about the grander values of an organization and how committed that organization is to those values, it can’t come down to a checklist.

We’ll give it to P&G – it made us all question our pre-conceived notions and created this project with an immense amount of background category research with BBDO and minority-certified consulting firm Egami Consulting Group.

As our agency sat and discussed this video, some of the questions we asked included the following:

-       Is this P&G’s rightful space to be in?

-       How does a spot like this challenge other brands to forget the product and do something more important?

-       Does the timing make sense?

-       Is it adding to a lot of noise?

-       How can brands start important conversations without appearing to be monetizing it?

-       What is P&G doing long-term to keep this conversation going and escalate it?

That last one really stuck with us all. No brand, or no person for that matter, wants to come across as racially insensitive. But how do brands keep these conversations going? How do agencies who create the content for those brands also play a part? Ultimately, the answers to these questions will differentiate a brand that's trying to monetize a social conversation and a brand that's genuinely engaged in it. 

P&G’s spot definitely hit a nerve. And it’s a nerve that had to be hit. Now, we have to think a little harder when we create content.

That content has to be contextualized. That content has to understand what it means to talk about something, rather than tell someone about something.

Our team didn’t find any concrete answers to these questions, as everyone will undoubtedly have a different opinion and experience with them.

However, now we ask you in this community to talk to us about this all. Tell us your thoughts on P&G’s spot and the broader conversation at hand at @TheTiteReport.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?


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