You may have seen your social media news feed flooded with shares of Pantene Philippines’ latest ad campaign, #WhipIt, displaying double-standards wimen experience in the workplace. One scene that struck us was the clip where the word “Bossy” appeared when a female boss was speaking to a group of people as opposed to a male boss being seen as a plain boss. It defined the common connotation that a female boss is difficult to work with. The glass ceiling in workplace has been around for decades, and in this modern age of technology, it seems it still prevails. The Style Bible team talked to Pantene Philippines' Marketing Manager, Pepe Torres to dig deep into the campaign.
This is the first time that Pantene is proactive with women's issues, what inspired the team to make this campaign?
Pantene has had a very rich heritage in the Philippines as the leading premium haircare brand. However, we’ve found that we’ve been out of step with consumers emotionally and we are not connecting with them in ways that our vastly evolved media landscape allows us to and in ways that consumers now actually expect brands to be. We decided that the best way to address this challenge is to bring Pantene’s greater brand purpose to life: to help women and their world shine.
In partnership with BBDO Guerrero, we asked ourselves, “What’s holding women back from shining?” Our conclusion was resoundingly clear: it was gender bias. Society hasn’t fully accepted women who are too bold or too confident. Sheryl Sandberg, the current Facebook Chief Operating Officer, has been vocal about women empowerment in the workplace. In her inspiring book, Lean In, she revealed that she was once called "bossy," but thankfully this did not stop her from persevering and eventually succeeding. The message we want to tell women is a bit straightforward but we feel really important: Don’t let labels hold you back. Be strong and shine.
We thought that it was about time that Pantene, as a brand for women, take a stand on these labels that are maybe holding them back from shining in their lives. Others may see this is as us taking an interest in women's issues, but for us, it is simply about Pantene staying true to and proactively communicating its brand purpose of empowering women to shine.
Internationally, Pantene is all about shiny, bouncy hair and is represented by prominent celebrities. Why did Pantene Philippines decide to take a different route?
Pantene's purpose has always been helping women shine—both in the healthy, beautiful hair and in their lives. Pantene will continue to give women hair so healthy, it shines. At the same time, Pantene understands that Filipinas are so much more than just their beauty regimen. They constantly strive to be better versions of themselves—beautiful both inside and out. They are career women, family women, passionate women. Pantene celebrities and influencers continue to embody the Pantene woman and will continue to be a part of our brand campaigns.
Pantene Philippines' #WhipIt campaign is consistent with its brand purpose to help women shine. More than just enabling women to bring shine to their hair, this campaign aims to encourage women to shine in their lives.
What made you decide to address issues in the workplace?
We decided to address gender biases in the workplace because of the simple fact that, in this day and age, despite there being an increasing number of women in the workforce, these labels and gender biases still exist—making it one of the biggest issues that hold women back from shining. According to a study conducted by Rappler, 70% of men think that women need to downplay their personalities in order to be accepted. 63% of men in NCR agree that men make better business leaders than women. And what is even more concerning is that 52% of females also agree that men make better business leaders than women. Sadly, the issue is even bigger than men calling women these damaging labels—it also encompasses women calling women these labels that prevent them from shining. Consistent with our purpose to help them shine, Pantene's #WhipIt campaign hopes to inspire women to not to let these damaging labels hold them back from shining in their lives.
What are your reactions to the video's reception and virality globally?
We’re extremely thrilled and proud that the Philippines is leading the way but more importantly, that this message is reaching more people around the world. The #WhipIt campaign was conceptualized in a local partnership with BBDO Guerrero, based on our understanding of Filipinas. However, we aren't surprised that the insights behind the campaign were relevant to women all around the world as it is a shared struggle. We’re also thrilled that our inspiration, Sheryl Sandberg is hugely supportive and outlets like feminist blog, Jezebel believe in it. It’s also clear sign that these gender biases continue to exist today around the world. We also love the fact that both men and women are responding and understanding that this is a joint responsibility as opposed to a battle between genders. We recognize that there are people who feel differently and we respect their opinions, but what’s important is that it’s generating healthy debate and conversation—we’re optimistic that some folks will feel differently about this issue because of these efforts. We hope the #WhipIt campaign encourages women in more parts of the world to whip away the damaging labels and shine strong.
Should we expect Pantene's future campaigns to follow the same thread?
This campaign was always intended to be a long-term commitment to empowering women to shine in their lives and we’re extremely excited for the work ahead. We’re proud that the company has decided to make this a global campaign for Pantene given how well it’s resonating with consumers everywhere. We can only expect greater things from this movement not just in the Philippines but in other parts of the world.
How do you expect the male population to react to the campaign?
Feedback from consumers—both male and female—on the #WhipIt campaign has been overwhelming. Many women confirmed that they do encounter these labels. Many men are extremely supportive and we loved how one man commented "I can't give Pantene enough credit for how they handled the subject of gender bias. Consider this a love letter to my wife, daughter, female colleagues, and all the other women in my life because I could not have written something better." As expected, in any campaign or movement which touches on real human issues, there are bound to be people that disagree. Some consumers—male and female alike—have given feedback that gender biases do not exist. Pantene respects the opinions of consumers, whether they agree with us or not although we would like to note that the gender bias study conducted in partnership with Rappler confirms that many of these biases still do exist. We think that it is great that some consumers do not encounter gender biases and we hope they help empower women around them to overcome these biases as well.
We also recognize that men may face damaging labels, too. What we hope men to understand is that this campaign is not anti-men. It’s not aimed to generate negative conversation around "women versus men." The core of this campaign is to inspire women, the key consumer Pantene wants to serve, to overcome what holds them back from shining and we encourage everyone regardless of gender who believes in this cause to help effect change in whatever way they can.
Watch the full video and tweet us @stylebibleph your thoughts.