Creativity

P&G's 'The Talk' wins Film Grand Prix at Cannes

Latest from marketer's 'Black Is Beautiful Campaign' is a difficult story, beautifully told

By Jack Neff and Ann-Christine Diaz. Published on Jun 22, 2018

Editor's Pick

Yeah, it's another Tide ad award. And that's no surprise. A Cannes Lions Film Grand Prix went to the four-spot Procter & Gamble Co. Super Bowl ad campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, which made a credible play at turning "It's another Tide ad" into an instant cultural touchstone, says Luiz Sanches, Film Jury president and chief creative officer of Almap/BBDO, Brazil.

But it's another P&G ad – "The Talk" from BBDO, New York for P&G's "My Black Is Beautiful" program – that came as more of a surprise, winning the second Film Grand Prix.

There was some controversy about the ad in a public jury at the Andy Awards earlier this year. That centered on whether the ad properly – in which moms talk to kids about how to deal with various dimensions of racism – properly reflected fathers in African-American homes.

That issue didn't come up in the global Cannes jury, Sanches says, and neither pick prompted controversy on the jury. (As president, he doesn't vote, so he didn't have to recuse himself from the honor for his sibling agency, and he doesn't work with P&G anyway, he noted.)

Indeed, while the ad provoked plenty of controversy beyond the Andy jury – with the National Review's Michelle Malkin leading a right-wing backlash last summer contending the ad doesn't reflect current race relations -- "The Talk" provoked little debate in the Cannes jury room.

"Even though it had some issues locally, I think 'The Talk' is a great platform that can be used on a global sale," Sanches says.

Indeed, both picks were easy, and he says he didn't feel pressure to award just one Grand Prix, because he likes the message sent by the pairing.

"When we saw the two, I thought it was the right message to set for the next year for the whole industry," Sanches says. "We are missing some humor. But we also need to have some responsibility. We have to engage people in a broader message."

The 2,200 entries in pre-judging were winnowed to 201 for Cannes. Sanches directed the jury to pick Golds first, and they came back with a dozen unanimously.

"For the Grand Prix, I directed them to narrow to four pieces of work, and to my surprise they came back with two," he says. "It was practically unanimous."

Original Story:

Through New Year's, we'll be counting down the best work of the year in TV/Film/Branded Content, Print/Outdoor/Design and Interactive/Integrated (IX) as our picks of the day.

At No. 3 in TV/Film, Procter & Gamble lived up to its "Proud Sponsor of Moms" mantle when it debuted this poignant film that shed light on the particular challenges faced by African-American mothers. It shows how struggles we may have thought were left in the past remain a heartbreaking reality today. Various vignettes depict how mothers balance their fears with hope as they nurture their children in an uncertain world. BBDO New York created the spot, directed by Malik Vitthal via Corner Shop.

Procter & Gamble is both "Proud Sponsor of Moms" and supporter of African-American women, with its ongoing "My Black Is Beautiful" campaign. These concerns merge in the marketer's heart-rending film about the unique challenges African-American mothers have in raising kids -- in decades past, and continuing today.

Scenes that take place over different eras depict moms consoling and educating their children after they encounter racism: one daughter receives a compliment that she's pretty -- "for a black girl," a boy gets called the n-word while another has faced discrimination on the sports field.

The mothers encourage their kids to endure and hold their heads up high, no matter what the challenges. One mom tells her daughter she'll do fine at science camp, but she'll have to "work twice as hard and be twice as smart," and the mother with the "pretty" daughter drives home that she's "beautiful, period."

But there are other fears as well, ones that the women may have little control over. One mom insists that her son take his ID with him to music practice, because it will be late when he returns home. Then a young woman at the steering wheel tells her mother she need not worry because she's a "good driver," but that's not what Mom's real concern is.

Unlike many other socially-conscious ads, the film, entitled "The Talk," doesn't sugarcoat with assurances that things will only get better. It's inspiring yet filled with an unsettling uncertainty -- a thoughtful marketing approach that's sure to promote real conversation.

BBDO New York created the ad, and Malik Vitthal of The Corner Shop directed.

P&G introduced the "My Black Is Beautiful" campaign a decade ago, with the goal of helping black women and girls feel confident about themselves, and in the process, develop a stronger bond with black consumers. The marketer intends this latest ad to open about a broader discussion about discrimination among a spectrum of communities. Further films on the accompanying website for "The Talk" show how real people have dealt with negative bias in their everyday lives.

"We know that bias is not just an African American issue," said Damon Jones, director of global company communications of Proctor & Gamble in a statement. "It's an issue that takes on many shapes and forms, across gender, race, age, weight, sexual orientation, and more. Our goal with 'The Talk' is to help raise awareness about the impact of bias. We are also hopeful that we can make progress toward a less biased future by recognizing the power of people of all backgrounds and races showing up for one another."

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Credits

Date
Jul 24, 2017
Agency:
BBDO New York
Client:
Procter & Gamble
Worldwide Chief Creative Officer:
David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer:
Greg Hahn
Creative Director:
Marcel Yunes
Creative Director:
Rick Williams
Associate Creative Director:
Nedal Ahmed
Copywriter:
Nedal Ahmed
Associate Creative Director:
Bryan Barnes
Art Director:
Bryan Barnes
Global Account Leader:
Anita May
Global Planning Director:
Sangeet Pillai
Director, Integrated Production:
Dave Rolfe
Executive Producer:
Dan Blaney
Senior Producer:
Whitney Collins
Executive Music Producer:
Melissa Chester
Senior Integrated Business Manager:
Matt Friday
Director:
Malik Vitthal
Production Company:
The Corner Shop
Director:
Malik Vitthal
Executive Producer:
Anna Hashmi
Director, Photography:
Lasse Frank
Production Designer:
Wynn Thomas
Costume Designer:
Isis Mussenden
Producer:
Jessica Miller
Head of Production:
Jessica Miller
Line Producer:
Stephen Love
Line Producer:
Blake Pickens
Editorial Company:
Work Editorial
Lead Editor:
Rich Orrick
Editor:
Theo Mercado
Producer:
Jamie Lynn Perritt
Executive Producer:
Erica Thompson
Visual Effects:
The Mill
2D Lead:
Jeff Robins
Producer:
Sophie Mitchell
Executive Producer:
Rachael Trillo
Music:
Pulse Music
Composer:
Julia Piker
Composer:
Dan Kuby
Producer:
Steve Grywalski
Executive Producer:
Dan Kuby
Sound Design:
Trinitite Studios
Sound Designer:
Brian Emrich
Mix Studio:
Heard City
Mixer:
Phil Loeb
Mixer:
Keith Reynaud
Producer:
Sasha Awn
Producer:
Andi Lewis
Color Grading:
Company 3
Producer:
Clare Movshon
Producer:
Alex Lubrano
Colorist:
Sofie Borup
Multicultural Strategic Communications:
Egami Consulting Group
Media:
Hearts & Science
Website:
Barefoot Proximity
Chief Brand Building Officer:
Marc Pritchard
Director:
Kristine Decker
Associate Director:
Betsy Bluestone
Brand Manager:
Verna Coleman-Hagler
Senior Manager of Communications:
Crystal Harrell
BBIC:
Randall Smith
BBIC:
John Lick
CMK:
Brittany Body

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