Last year, Pantene made waves with their “Labels” ad from BBDO Guerrero in Manila, which explored how men and women are labeled differently for the same behavior. “Labels” gained over 46 million views and plenty of attention outside its home country of the Philippines. Now, Grey has issued a new campaign that acts as something of a spiritual successor for the brand, which continues to explore gender norms. This time, Grey asks, “Why are women always apologizing?” which appears onscreen during the spots’ opening moments to prepare viewers for what’s to come.
Viewers are presented with women apologizing in a variety of scenarios, starting with a woman at work diminishing her own argument by asking, “Sorry, can I ask a stupid question?” Another woman apologizes when a man sits down next to her and encroaches on her space; a mother apologizes for handing off her baby to the father when he returns home from work; a woman says “Sorry, you go first” when a man interrupts her. Following these scenarios a new message appears on screen: “Don’t be sorry. Be strong and shine.” The ad then doubles back on the women from the initial scenarios, who are now presented as assertive and unapologetic. Unfortunately, the message is compromised when several of the women say “Sorry not sorry,” which is still sort of an apology. Maybe Grey just wanted to jump on the bandwagon of the popular hashtag (and Naya Rivera song) or prove that Pantene is hip to Internet culture, but it seriously undermines the impact of “Not Sorry.”
As Adweek reports, Pantene is supporting the campaign with the Shine Strong Fund, “which seeks to educate and enable women to overcome bias and societal expectations as well as celebrate strong women.” The Shine Strong Fund will collaborate with the American Association of University Women, to underwrite monetary grants and help women in college gain access to influential leaders. It’s a nice initiative, and a good way for Pantene to really get behind their recent campaigns. Stick around for credits after the jump. Read more