Procter & Gamble, the consumer-packaged goods manufacturer, has built on its previous breakthrough marketing on diversity and inclusion with powerful content plays entitled "The Choice" and “Circumstances”.

First aired last night (Wednesday), "The Choice" asked how African Americans are meant to respond when repeated incidents suggest their lives do not matter to many people, especially when compared to the lives of the white community.

The ad also called on white people to be anti-racist, a mindset requiring positive action, rather than adopting a more passive form of tolerance. "Not being racist is not enough," the ad asserted, before urging people to visit a dedicated website to find a range of useful resources and information.

A minute long and featuring a slate of striking images, “Circumstances” reminds viewers that while COVID-19 does not discriminate, the personal circumstances faced by individuals and communities can leave them at much greater risk.

Many African Americans, for instance, are employed in jobs that are vital in guiding America through the pandemic – be it in the postal service or medical profession – leaving them more vulnerable to infection.

Equally, structural problems of inequality can also mean African Americans must overcome major obstacles, such as limited access to healthcare, should they become infected.

These are among the factors contributing to the fact that African Americans are 340% more likely to die from COVID-19, a statistic that was noted by the P&G video. 

Its “Circumstances” content play reflects a point of anxiety recently outlined by Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer, who stated that diversity and inclusion efforts often “take a step back” in a time of crisis.

“The people who are the most vulnerable –the most marginalised, the people who have been historically discriminated against – tend to have suffered disproportionately during these times of crisis. We also see rises in in racism and hate crimes and those kinds of things,” he told an Adweek webinar.

“And what's so distressing about it is that the very people who are marginalised and discriminated against are those who are on the frontlines, who are keeping this country going – [and] keeping the world going for that matter.”

Coupled with the release of “Circumstances”, P&G has re-released two other pieces of advertising that made a case for addressing racial inequality – with its latest spot thus completing a trio of potent, attention-grabbing messages.

“The Talk”, from 2017, focuses on the difficult conversations that African American parents are required to have with their children about racism in society – and claimed multiple awards, from an Emmy to recognition at the Clio Awards and the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

A second ad, “The Look”, told the story of an African American man who experiences numerous small acts of daily discrimination, from the unnecessary attention of a security guard to car windows being rolled up and elevator doors deliberately being closed before he could step inside.

Sourced from WARC