Parents Have ‘the Talk’ in the Powerful ‘My Black Is Beautiful’ Campaign From P&G

Teaching kids about racial bias, for generations

Generations of black parents have had to have "the talk" with their kids. YouTube: My Black is Beautiful

Black parents in America have long had to have “the talk” with their children, as successive generations found it necessary to discuss the harsh realities of being black in this country, warning their children about racial bias and the prejudices they will inevitably face.

P&G decided to showcase what those conversations might look like in a powerful new spot taking on racial bias for My Black is Beautiful, a group started in 2006 “to spark a broader dialogue about black beauty.”

“The Talk” is the opening of P&G’s relaunch of the initiative, repurposing My Black Is Beautiful into an initiative designed to celebrate cultural identity and start a conversation about racial bias. P&G worked closely with BBDO and minority-certified consulting firm Egami Consulting Group, P&G’s communications agency of record for My Black Is Beautiful for the past eight years, on the effort, which was born out of brainstorming sessions discussing real experiences with racial bias.

According to a press release, “Every aspect of the film included the essential contributions and guidance of creatives, producers, filmmakers, and clients of color.”

The ad, which is just over two minutes long, opens with a mother asking her daughter, “Who said that?”

“That is not a compliment,” the mother says when her daughter tells her, “The lady at the store.”

From there, the spot moves to a series of related conversations over the years, and even without the full context of the conversations, the intent is clear: Growing up and dealing with racial bias will make life more difficult.

In one of the most moving scenes, a mom in a car starts telling her daughter what to do “when you get pulled over.” When the daughter objects, saying she’s a good driver, the mom explains, “This is not about you getting a ticket. This is about you not coming home.”

Eventually the ad circles back to the first mother, who reveals the comment she was referring to, telling her daughter, “You are not ‘pretty for a black girl.’ You are beautiful. Period. OK?”

The spot concludes by calling on viewers to “talk about ‘the talk’ so we can end the need to have it,” followed by, “It’s time for everyone to #TalkAboutBias.”

“Great advertising opens hearts and changes minds, but doesn’t have to stop there. We believe great advertising can inspire real, lasting change. That’s the aspiration behind ‘The Talk,'” P&G’s director of global company communications Damon Jones said in a statement. “These real-life conversations about conscious and unconscious bias are too common in homes across the country and weigh heavily on parents and children of many different backgrounds. We take seriously the opportunity to spark dialogue on what we all can do to put an end to the harmful effects of bias, and motivate true change.”

Jones added: “At P&G, we aspire to a world free from bias, with equal voices, equal representation and equal opportunity to success for everyone—no matter who you are, who you love, or where you come from.”

A series of conversations about various aspects of racial bias rounds out the campaign on P&G’s “The Talk” campaign landing page. These include a young woman explaining the racism she faced as a customer-service representative at a retail store, a woman discussing the need to face ones own privilege and racial bias, and another taking on implicit bias and what it means to be an advocate.

See the other spots below:

Agency: BBDO New York
Client: P&G My Black is Beautiful
Title: “The Talk”

Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
Creative Director: Marcel Yunes
Creative Director: Rick Williams
Associate Creative Director: Nedal Ahmed
Associate Creative Director: Bryan Barnes
EVP, Global Account Leader: Anita May
EVP, Group Planning Director: Sangeet Pillai
Director of Integrated Production: David Rolfe
Executive Producer: Dan Blaney
Senior Producer: Whitney Collins
Executive Music Producer: Melissa Chester
Senior Integrated Business Manager: Matt Friday

Production Company: The Corner Shop
Director: Malik Vitthal
Exec Producer: Anna Hashmi
Director of Photography: Lasse Frank
Production Designer: Wynn Thomas
Costume Designer: Isis Mussenden
Producer/ Head of Production: Jessica Miller
Line Producers: Stephen Love & Blake Pickens

Editorial: Work Editorial
Lead Editor: Rich Orrick
Editor: Theo Mercado
Producer: Jamie Lynn Perritt
Executive Producer: Erica Thompson

VFX Studio: The Mill NY
2D Lead: Jeff Robins
Producer: Sophie Mitchell
Executive Producer: Rachael Trillo

Music: Pulse Music NY
Composers: Julia Piker & Dan Kuby
Producer: Steve Grywalski
Executive Producer: Dan Kuby

Sound Design: Trinite Studios
Sound Designer: Brian Emrich

Mixing Studio: Heard City
Mixer: Phil Loeb and Keith Reynaud
Producer: Sasha Awn & Andi Lewis

Color Grade/Transfer: Company 3
Producer: Clare Movshon & Alex Lubrano
Colorist: Sofie Borup

Agency Partners
Multicultural Strategic Communications:
Egami Consulting Group
CEO: Teneshia Jackson Warner
Senior Strategic Advisor: Cheryl Overton
Vice President: Liv Lewis

Media: Hearts & Science
Website: Barefoot Proximity
Multi-Cultural/Collateral: Burrell Communications

P&G My Black is Beautiful
Chief Brand Building Officer: Marc Pritchard
Director: Kristine Decker
Associate Brand Director: Betsy Bluestone
Brand Manager: Verna Coleman-Hagler
Randall Smith: BBIC
John Lick: BBIC
Senior Manager Communications: Crystal Harrell
CMK: Brittany Body

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.