In late July, a multimedia campaign launched by Procter & Gamble Co. attracted the attention of many. The effort, “The Talk,” is tied to a campaign designed to start a dialogue about how Black parents should talk with their children about dealing with racial prejudice.
Some found the creative a bit too provocative, with cries of “race baiting” coming from one corner. For the most part, however, the TV effort tied to the “My Black is Beautiful” brand was heralded for its willingness to discuss race relations just weeks before a horrible weekend in Charlottesville, Va., sparked by racial division and hate groups.
The buy by P&G was a major one. And, it involved a large number of National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) member stations.
The media buy and campaign are in support of “The Talk,” a vignette depicts what NABOB says is “the inevitable conversations many Black parents have with their children about racial bias to prepare, protect and encourage them.”
Throughout the film are snippets of mothers having a version of “The Talk” with their son or daughter, illustrated in various situations across different decades.
“These depictions of ‘The Talk’ illustrate that while times have changed, racial bias still exists,” NABOB says.
Why would Procter & Gamble Co. create the effort? Astute marketers are well aware of its long-standing position as the No. 1 advertiser in the multicultural marketplace by ad dollar allocation.
Now, P&G says, “As a corporate citizen we have a unique opportunity, and a responsibility, to use our voice and our resources for good. Through our brands, we can bring greater awareness to bias that exists in many forms, sparking conversations that motivate change, creating new expectations for people to live up to, and ultimately helping to create more equal opportunities for all. A more equal world is good for us, our consumers and our community.”
While “The Talk” sees P&G take what the Associated Press calls a “calculated risk” for an effort that makes no mention of a P&G product, Luis Garcia, President and lead strategist of multicultural marketing firm MarketVision, said of the nation’s corporations, “They have to create meaningful ways that are going to engage people.”
P&G spokesperson Damon Jones told AP, “There’s a time for product placement. There’s a time to do something broader.”
“The Talk” concludes with an on-screen invite to discuss the topic of racism online with the hashtag #TalkAboutBias.
“NABOB fully supports P&G in this effort,” the organization said in a communiqué issued late last week. “Major corporations have an obligation to participate in improving the overall welfare of our nation. NABOB commends P&G for taking on this important issue, and doing it in such a thoughtful and constructive manner.”
The media campaign grew out of a meeting at which representatives of NABOB and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) were invited to P&G headquarters in Cincinnati in June to meet with the marketing team at P&G to discuss “The Talk” prior to its public release. P&G asked NABOB to help with the development of the message for the campaign.
The meeting was set up by Sherman Kizart of Kizart Media Partners—a veteran radio industry figure who was “very instrumental in conducting the important negotiations with P&G and its agency, Hearts & Science, to bring the campaign to fruition.”
P&G’s My Black is Beautiful initiative dates to 2006. It was created by a group of visionary black women at P&G to spark a broader dialogue about black beauty, the company said. “Their mission was to excite black women everywhere to act as catalysts in their communities and help redefine beauty standards — by not only helping her embrace her beauty, but also serving as an authentic source of inspiration that celebrates her uniqueness.”