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P&G Anti-Sexism Shampoo Ad to Debut in US

December 20, 2013

Labels Against Women created by Pantene.

The Pantene ad where a woman with thick, shiny hair encounters workplace sexism is coming to the US. The spot, Labels Against Women, launched on Nov. 9 in the Philippines, but quickly went viral worldwide after Sheryl Sandberg called it “one of the most powerful videos I have seen.”

Procter & Gamble, Pantene’s parent company, has begun purchasing ad space for it in US, which means that if you’re one of the millions of people who’ve seen it online, you’ll probably see it again on TV.

The minute-long spot features a man and a woman doing the same things (running a meeting, giving a speech, working late) in the same professional setting while the words associated with them—”Boss” for the man, “Bossy” for the woman, for example—are displayed beside them. A melancholy cover of Tears for Fears’ Mad World plays in the background. The tag line, “Don’t let labels hold you back,” flashes onscreen in the final moments, while a model does the typical shampoo commercial hair toss. P&G created the spot in response to a gender bias study it conducted in the Philippines. Judging from the commercial’s popularity, many of its stereotypes resonate with women around the world.

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