P&G’s Push for Diverse Voices Doubles as Brand Building

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In his quest to change advertising as we know it, Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard has once again turned his attention to documentaries made by young, diverse female filmmakers.

“People want to see authentic stories,” Pritchard said. “So when our brands are associated with that, people will feel better about our brands.”

Last week in lower Manhattan, Pritchard joined actress and musician Queen Latifah to meet the three winners of this year’s Queen Collective, an initiative run by P&G, Queen Latifah and Tribeca Studios that provides resources and mentorship to emerging female directors of color.

The winners include Brooklyn-based filmmaker Samantha Knowles, who is shooting a documentary about the discrimination people of color face over their hair called Tangled Roots, and co-directors Nadine Natour and Ugonna Okpalaoka, who are working on a project called Gloves Off that follows a young woman who works as a police officer by day, then fights as a boxer by night.

As part of the program, currently in its second year, P&G will provide funding and help with distribution. Both original short documentaries are scheduled to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival later this April.

While Procter & Gamble will have no creative oversight of the projects, Pritchard said Olay will sponsor Gloves Off, while Tangled Roots will be aligned with My Black Is Beautiful, a personal care brand within the P&G family made uniquely for black women.

For Pritchard, the initiative is all about giving talented and capable artists a chance to get their foot in the door.

“In the industry, a little over 10% of directors are women—maybe 1% are women of color,” Pritchard said. “So, that’s why this program has to make the investment in those women to help get their stories out there.”

Pritchard said the benefit of bolstering diverse female directors is not only that their voices and viewpoints get a platform to be heard and seen, but that it creates a ripple effect in the industry that affects people in various vocations.

“When the production crew is diverse as well, that provides the kind of equality and inclusion we’re seeking,” he said. “We’re looking for a completely equal and inclusive creative supply chain, from advertisers to agencies to media producers, all the way through to the directors and their crews.”

This year’s Queen Collective winners were selected from a pool of applicants double the size of last year, when the program debuted. Both P&G and Queen Latifah had a hand in choosing the winners.

“More and more people are looking for documentaries and interested in documentaries, whether they be 5 minutes, 20 minutes or an hour,” Pritchard added. “Diverse voices are going to give it a diverse view and diverse stories that we may not have seen before.”

In June 2018, Procter & Gamble announced plans to have women direct at least half of its product commercials by 2023.

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