Pantene: Fighting Gender Equality with Labels Against Women

On my recent rabbit hole dive when creating a video marketing strategy I came across this brand film from Pantene. The film shows how with the same actions men and women can be perceived in a completely different way.

What do you think of this video? Is this how you feel like society is? Well, let me add a little more context for you. This campaign was launched back in 2013 in the Philippines. P&G Phillippines’ Country Marketing Manager, Haircare, Pepe Torres said this experimental campaign was created to help them start a conversation with their audience and gain emotional relevance with them. Yep P&G own Pantene too so if you read my last post on their film The Look you will know that they truly do believe in equality. Honestly, I didn’t plan this link it was only after choosing this campaign that I realised it was by P&G too.

Research carried out for this campaign found that a whole 70% of men think that women need to downplay their personality to be accepted. In other words, as a woman, you’re highly unlikely to be accepted for being yourself.

70% of men think that women need to downplay their personality to be accepted

In addition to this fact and what’s even worse is that 58% of women agree.

Gaining Perspective

While looking at these campaigns, more so with videos, I find myself scrolling through the comments. I do this to gain more perspective and see how campaigns have been perceived. After reading other people’s opinions I’m often surprised at how different they can be to my own. It’s certainly worth keeping an open mind every time, you learn so much more.

Comment taken from Labels Against Women on YouTube
Comment taken from Labels Against Women on YouTube

This commercial has everything backwards. And I’m sure I hear more men being called show-offs than women today, so this commercial has no reason to exist. Just stop with the Feminist propaganda! – MR. MGTOW (YouTube)

Well, this sure did catch my attention. It did not, however, change my opinion. This comment was only posted on the video 5 months ago so around 7 years after the campaign was launched. I would hope that within 7 years and especially after this campaign has sparked conversations there has been a change.

Breaking it down

To say that this video has everything backwards is quite a strong accusation though. Taking one example out with the ‘show-offs’ comment I don’t believe works. Yes I admit in today’s world men can be called show-offs just as much but does that also apply to the other comments in the video? Are they also accused of being bossy? Selfish? Pushy? I don’t think so. Society still isn’t all the way there with equality within gender. This isn’t to say that women can’t go for jobs as bosses, managers etc it just means they are judged more.

Finally, I don’t think this video can be called ‘Feminist propaganda!’. I say this being, what I call, an equalist, feminists are perceived as being too extreme now and some people are. It’s not propaganda at all it’s what many real women feel, myself included and this is 7 years on from the campaign’s inception.


First of all, it’s great! I love how simple and effective it is, as intended it sparks a conversation. The one thing I would suggest is to actually showcase some discussions on the topic. I’m not sure if these happened at the time of this campaign taking place or not but it would be good to see. Introduce men and women to different perspectives. I had a look into seeing if I could find any on YouTube and I came across one on a talk show, not facilitated by P&G or Pantene though.

Again, this is almost 7 years ago now but there are some interesting points. I do believe there have been improvements but we’re still not fully equal and in some ways, this could just be us, women, seeing we are and daring to go further. The labels mentioned should be labels of the past and we should see them that way, any way, I digress.

Sticking to values

Just like P&G’s videos taking on racial bias I do believe that this is a core value for Pantene as equality runs throughout the P&G family of products. This is shown by the way they continue to relate to women with the following, ‘Sorry, Not Sorry’ campaign.

As a woman both of the videos are just so relatable, this could just be me as a person or a common fear amongst women but I do think the fear of being judged and labelled in this way has held me back at times.

What do you think of Labels Against Women by Pantene? As always, I would love to see your comments below and I’m always up for a discussion on any of my blog topics if you want to drop me a message via LinkedIn or InstagramDo you think it’s still relevant today? How would you have expanded it? 

Just in case you weren’t sure on that first question take a look at the video below. Another great brand film to trophy gender equality from Microsoft.

This one got to me a little as just like the young girls in this video I was struggling to think of female inventors, were you?

Honourable mention: AA That Feeling

I’ve loved seeing this ad on TV recently and thought I would share to all those who have missed it. ‘That Feeling’ sure does give you them feel-good vibes. See for yourself.


Image courtesy of YouTube/Cause Marketing.


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