Pantene extends #HairHasNoGender to being an ally at work

Who: P&G’s Pantene, along with Pride at Work Canada, and the Dresscode Project; MSL for PR and Carat for media; with global creative by Stockholm-based Valtech Radon.

What: A third chapter of the hair care brand’s #HairHasNoGender program, which celebrates the ways hair can be a powerful expression of personal identity. This year’s campaign is focused on allyship at work.

When & Where: The campaign launched on May 17, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, running in seven markets around the world. The focus is on PR and digital amplification, with a new film posted to YouTube and special content on the “HairHasNoGender” section of the website.

Why: Pantene launched #HairHasNoGender because of the connection between hair, personal confidence and self-expression. Pantene believes good hair days can have a profoundly positive impact on a person’s emotional wellbeing. This is particularly true for transgender and non-binary people, who often struggle to express who they truly are—feeling good about their hair can be particularly powerful.

This year’s campaign—which comes as many people return to the office after more than two years of WFH—extends that cause to the workplace, where more than half (53%) of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals still feel they need to hide their identities.

One of the faces of the campaign is Vivek Shraya (she/her), an assistant professor and artist at the University of Calgary. “Your workplace is like your second home. When you’re in a space where you’re just trying to do your job and the people around you aren’t supportive of who you are or make it difficult to express yourself, it makes it difficult for you to work,” she said. “So many queer and trans people feel like we can’t bring our whole selves to work. No one should have to compartmentalize who they are in the workplace.”

How: The campaign is anchored by a two-and-a-half minute video featuring 12 members of the LGBTQ2+ community sharing stories about the anguish of not being supported at work. “I have to assume every workplace is not safe,” says one. But then their stories change, first to how they could express who they are through their hair, and then to the power they’ve found in the support of caring co-worker allies.

“Whatever hair you dream of. Whatever job you aim for. We support you,” reads the closing super.

Pantene also worked with Canadian partners Pride at Work Canada and Dresscode Project to produce educational materials and tips for organizations and individuals to make the workplace more inclusive, how to be an ally, and how to use inclusive language.

“It is our mission to employers to build workplaces that celebrate all employees regardless of sex, gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation,” said Jade Pichette (they/them), director of programs, Pride at Work Canada. “This is one step closer to building cultures of belonging through affirming, welcoming and meaningful employment for everyone to express themselves at work.”

Pantene is also working with Dresscode Project to create more safer hair salon spaces for 2SLGBTQS+ clients through inclusivity training for hair stylists. Dresscode founder Kristin Rankin also created training materials on how to be a 2SLGBTQ+ ally in the workplace.

And we quote: “At P&G, our mission is to ‘lead with love,’ and we are continuously striving to create an inclusive workplace to encourage individuals to feel confident to express their true selves, including how they wear their hair… We know this results in a more collaborative and positive workplace for all.” —Lisa Reid, (she/her), country leader, P&G Beauty

David Brown