Consumer goods corporation P&G could get an Emmy for its advertisement, “The Talk,” which featured black families over the course of decades facing the same racial bias and discrimination, leading mothers to have “the talk” about inequality and racism with their children.
Teneshia Warner, the first African-American woman to win the Grand Prix award at Cannes Lions (an honor that happened just this June) and founder and CEO of Egami, a multicultural agency, spoke with Fast Company about her work on the P&G commercial, which was also created through a partnership with advertising agency network BBDO.
“Seeing studies at least indicate this is an expectation of both multicultural consumers and the general market, so brands are starting to connect the dots on what it means to be socially conscious,” said Warner, referencing a Kantar study that 87 percent of African Americans, 83 percent of Hispanics, 81 percent of Asian Americans, 80 percent of LGBTQ consumers and 78 percent of millennials believe companies should be more active on social issues.
“Can you afford to sit out or be neutral? I don’t think they can,” she said. “Being neutral is making a choice at this point, in the eyes of many consumers.”
This is not the first time Warner and Egami have worked with P&G; Warner’s company has worked with P&G’s “My Black is Beautiful” campaign, which began over a decade ago and was spearheaded by six black employees who wanted to shift how black women were portrayed in the media and helped with the initiative’s relaunch. However, while “My Black is Beautiful” had been criticized for being race-baiting or pandering in the past, P&G’s “The Talk,” which is part of the “My Black is Beautiful” initiative, helped solidify the opinion that P&G is actually serious about being socially conscious and not just for the almighty dollar.
“Brands need to understand…that cultural competency is key,” she said. “It has to be from the inside out. You can’t just think about it as a way to position your brand to win with that audience. It starts from within. Do you have diverse teams internally? Do you have minorities in management (and) on your board? The inside has to be a priority, and as you look outward, don’t be afraid to bring minority-owned businesses to the table.”