It’s a Mad World

By December 11, 2013 Uncategorized

In a widely-read study, business school students were given a case assignment on Heidi, a real-life successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. But there was a catch. Half of the class randomly received their case with one teensy tiny change made: The name “Heidi” was changed to “Howard.” Afterward, the students were surveyed, and though Heidi and Howard were found equally competent (as they should have been because they are the same person), the students found Howard much more likeable. The following ad pretty much sums up why.

Pantene Philippines has launched this powerful campaign pointing out how identical behavior often earns men and women different labels in the workplace.

In this spot by BBDO Guerrero in Manila, a lovely cover of “Mad World” by Tears for Fears plays while each scene displays a double-standard in a working environment. A man is the “boss” while a woman is “bossy.” A man is “persuasive” while a woman is “pushy.” He’s “neat” but she’s “vain.” He’s “smooth” but she’s a “show-off.” “Don’t let labels hold you back. Be strong and shine,” says the copy at the end.

There’s nary a shampoo bottle in sight, although glossy hair certainly features here. But the video delivers, and the #whipit campaign has inspired discussion on both the YouTube video and Facebook.

• “Too bad they couldn’t find a male equivalent of ‘bitch.’ This is the one I hear the most about strong women in the workplace.”
• “Sell product by convincing your target market that you are more invested in contributing to emotionally charged, globally relevant women’s image issues than you are in advertising your product.”

While it is disappointing that they used only light-skinned models—a long-standing trend in the Philippines—it’s a potent spot with an important message criticizing gender stereotypes. Oh, and Sheryl Sandberg is a fan.


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