How P&G’s ‘The Look’ continues to spark conversations about bias

Saturday Morning and P&G at Advertising Week

The creative collective Saturday Morning formed three years ago as a coalition built across creative industries to bring about societal change. Jump ahead and the group is fulfilling its promise to uncover and shift perceptions on unconscious bias through several campaigns, including ‘The Look’ done in partnership with Procter & Gamble.

‘The Look’ continued a conversation started by a previous Saturday Morning and P&G collaboration called ‘The Talk,’ where a mother has a serious conversation with her daughter about bias. ‘The Look’ addresses what it means to be a black man in the US, complete with micro-aggressions and prejudiced looks.

P&G: The Look

Added 27 June 2019
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Saturday Morning, talking on a panel at Advertising Week with P&G’s associate brand director, global media innovation, Eric Austin, explained the work and how the organization and the brand are helping spark conversations on bias, unconscious or not.

“’The Talk’ was a really powerful message,” said Jayanta Jenkins, Twitter’s global group creative director and a founder of Saturday Morning. “P&G has put several powerful conversations into the marketplace around social change and identifying opportunities to amplify our similarities.”

Keith Cartwright, executive creative director at 72andSunny and co-founder of Saturday Morning, said that when they wrote the script for ‘The Look’, none of the group thought it would be relevant, because it’s something that they deal with every day. “The idea of ‘The Look’, although not known to everyone, people of color experience, in micro-aggressions probably hundreds of times a day,” he said.

Austin added that P&G and Saturday Morning wanted to bring true insights that go on in black families, and ‘The Look’ calls attention to a particular community he claims has been underserved in the media for years.

“As the world’s largest advertiser, we have to take responsibility for the images that we put into the media. We’re a company of 70-plus brands. We have to be responsible about how we portray people and communities in our advertising. Those images can lead to stereotypes, and those stereotypes can lead to some societal consequences that sometimes can be fatal. We know situations like that. I can look down the list from Trayvon Martin down in terms of when someone has a bias how it can be detrimental,” said Austin.

With ‘The Look’, Austin said the group wanted to tell a story that was authentic, meaningful, impactful and useful, and “go really deep on what black men experience day in and day out”.

P&G and Saturday Morning designed ‘The Talk’ and ‘The Look’ to spark conversations, which they hope leads to more empathy for other people’s experiences. To spread the word, they used social media, as well as scheduling 30 to 40 conversations around the country to talk about bias.

In addition, P&G has partnered with anti-poverty movement Global Citizen and National Geographic on a six-part documentary on different important global issues, like the lack of education of black girls in Africa, disaster relief, plastic waste in the ocean, and the criminalization of poverty and how bias can play out in the criminal justice system.

“This was a perfect fit for ‘The Look’,” said Austin. “It sets up the context of how bias exists. A divide in wealth…If you don’t have the financial means, you stay in jail.”

Saturday Morning is also expanding its voice through entertainment avenues. It is helping to produce a film called A Better Half, which will be shown on the festival circuit. Aside from providing support financially, Saturday Morning made sure that over 50% of the crew on the film was African American.

In addition, the group just wrapped shooting on the movie, A Solid Bond. It’s about a Nigerian family moving to Brighton, England. It’s about a boy and the biases he experiences growing up in a community where he is seen as ‘other’.

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