P&G delivers a clear call to action against anti-Black racism

Procter & Gamble has published a new ad that joins the growing chorus of voices demanding immediate action to stamp out anti-Black racism.

The video, by Grey and new L.A.-based agency Cartwright, uses language most brands would not have considered three weeks ago—directly addressing the “All Lives Matter” crowd and explaining why “Not being racist is not enough… Now is the time to be anti-racist.”

P&G includes “Vote” among the various actions people can take if they want to do something. Viewed within the context of the rest of the video and the current political climate, what might have been an innocuous suggestion seems to take on partisan heft.

P&G has taken a strong position on the problem of discrimination in America since producing “The Talk” in 2017, followed by “The Look” in 2019. Both delivered stark portrayals of what it means to be Black in America, although both positioned the problem as one of “bias.”

With “Choices,” P&G is now overtly talking about racism, and appears to have assumed the more activist stance so many are calling for.

Just two weeks ago, P&G released another ad that showed how much coronavirus was disproportionately hurting Black America, although with slightly less direct messaging. Called “Circumstances,” the ad explains that a virus does not discriminate, but circumstances do. “African Americans are up to 340% more likely to lose their lives to the coronavirus,” it states.

At the time, there were already calls to declare anti-Black racism a public health crisis, but P&G still used “bias” instead of racism, and referred to inequality without connecting the dots between systemic racism and poverty. There was also no specific call to action,  just a closing statement about P&G being “committed to a better tomorrow.”

“Choices,” though, ends with a push to PG.com/takeonrace, which includes a deep library of resources to learn more about racism, along with links for those who want to get more involved or make financial donations to anti-racism causes.

“Racial inequality is the inescapable reality of America. It didn’t begin with us, but it can end with us. If we choose to act,” says P&G on the landing page.

“This ever-growing collection of resources will help us more clearly see the complex problems we face—and face them together. And guide us along the journey of transforming equality from a dream to a reality. Together we can make real lasting change when we actively work to prevent, address, and rectify it—individually and collectively. Let’s get started.”

David Brown