P&G’s Saturday Morning Conversations About Race
The American, non-profit, ‘Saturday Morning Coalition For Peace’ was established in 2016 to promote enlightening and transformative conversations about race.
The collective of highly respected creative leaders, who called on the advertising communication industry to come together, and act to fight racism with bold steps, are:
Geoff Edwards, Co-Head of Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
Jayanta Jenkins, Global Group Creative Director at Twitter
Jimmy Smith, Chairman and Chief Executive of Amusement Park Entertainment
Keith Cartwright, a former Global Creative Director at Wieden+Kennedy, Executive Creative Director at Butler Shine Stern & Partners, and ECD at 72& Sunny.
With the backing of the WPP group, and working in partnership with the Grey Group’s global creative network, Keith opened a boutique Advertising Agency this year in Venice, Los Angeles, California, USA, called ‘Cartwright’.
He also undertook to remain a prominent promoter of the ‘Saturday Morning Coalition For Peace’ and active board member of the ‘One Club’.
P&G Steps Up To The Plate
In a recent press statement, P&G emphasised the following:
“For years, we have used our voice as a leading advertiser to shine a light on inequality, highlight bias, and spark dialogue that leads to understanding and action. But that’s not enough. More is needed. Now.”
An energized ‘Take On Race’ initiative was launched and spearheaded by the establishment of a P&G fund to support organizations that fight for justice and the advancement of economic opportunity, and a social responsibility, communication partnership with the ‘Saturday Morning Coalition For Peace’.
1. Procter & Gamble, The Choice
Advertising Agency: Cartwright, Los Angeles, USA
Developed by the newly formed WPP Cartwright agency, the Saturday Morning collective, and Grey, ‘The Choice’ film was launched on the Oprah-hosted CBS special “Where Do We Go From Here” that focused on the civil unrest that’s emerged following the death of George Floyd.
P&G’s ‘The Choice’ probably represents the most intuitively driven message yet from a big corporation about systemic racism.
Many companies have voiced support, but P&G produced a deeper, more insightful call to action by providing the means of facilitating change. Viewers were directed to PG.com/takeonrace, for more information about resources supporting the cause.
“How you use your power is a choice. Choose action over observation. Choose progress over perfection.”
The soundtrack features American Singer-Songwriter Moses Sumney’s resonating track “Doomed”.
2. The Drum, Saturday Morning At Cannes
At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year, Saturday Morning Coalition members, Edwards, Cartwright and Jenkins, took to the stage in a powerful presentation about their observations of diversity and inequality issues in the communication industry.
The Marketing and Advertising news website ‘The Drum’ took advantage of the opportunity to interview each presentation speaker about what it takes to be a great creative.
A video of the interviewees’ insightful responses was posted on The Drum’s online portal and YouTube.
3. Procter & Gamble, The Look
The Saturday Morning Collective For Peace and P&G’s collaborative ‘The Look’ undertaking was directed by Anthony Mandler of Stink Films, with Malik Sayeed as director of photography.
Kwame Taylor-Hayford, founder of Creative Agency ‘Kin’, inductee into the American Advertising Federation’s 2019 Hall of Achievement, and an eminent member of the ‘Saturday Morning Coalition’, described the scenario as follows:
“The story is based in the real-world experience of thousands of Black men across the country who experience bias in different ways, big and small, every day. This film is an opportunity for the world to see and feel, what it’s like to walk in their shoes.”
‘The Look’ was launched at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. P&G announced at the event that the depicted situations understandably, might be uncomfortable to view and require more empathic conversation and explanation.
The film would therefore, be channeled to a dedicated website designed to provide the necessary context for a deeper and richer conversation to inspire meaningful change.
4. Procter & Gamble, The Talk
Advertising Agency: BBDO, New York, USA
Directed by Malik Vitthal, the 2018 Grand Prix Cannes Lions and Emmy award winning ‘The Talk’, about black parents telling their children about prejudice, received both praise and negative criticism when first released.
The National Review accused P&G of “identity-politics pandering” and Police groups claimed the commercial was fanning hatred against the police.
But P&G bravely ‘stuck to their guns’. On Campaign magazine’s online portal, Damon Jones, director of global company communications at P&G explained the rationale behind their unwavering commitment:
“The film scenarios are based on authentic consumer insights and from personal stories. Racism makes us all uncomfortable. Our goal wasn’t to get to one universal piece of copy that everyone agrees with.”
“Even if not all of it was positive, we wanted to spark a conversation, that would turn into dialogue, then understanding, and finally, change.”
With a staggering 1,9 billion media impressions and 5,600 downloads of conversation around racial bias, it seems Americans were ready and willing to share opinions, and talk about ‘The Talk.