In pursuit of reclaiming the beauty of Black life across the advertising, film and television industries, Procter & Gamble debuts “Widen The Screen” to great industry praise. The new platform will help identify, hire and foster Black talent while also increasing representation in commercials, films and television. The program aims to broaden the way Black people are portrayed in advertising and entertainment through an increased investment in Black directors, actors, crews and media.
“It is my hope, through this campaign, to encourage image makers to reveal the fullness of who we are as Black people. We don’t have to be ‘exceptional’ to be respected and valued,” said Kevin Wilson, Jr, Oscar-nominee and director of the film. “We also take up many spaces in this world and the love we share should be depicted as well. We are more than the brutality we often see in our depictions in television and film. We are the joy we experience with loved ones and the passion we have for one another.”
The campaign, as a part of P&G’s larger effort to increase inclusion and representation of people of color in the advertising industry, has so far been met with positive responses by marketing and diversity executives.
Levi Strauss & Co.’s Elizabeth Morrison who serves as chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, shared the film with her network and asked, “Eye opening to be caught in your biases isn’t it?”
“Great to see companies engaging in actions that can really make a difference and change the narrative when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the media,” said global brand strategist Desiree Reid, founder & general manager for Desiree Reid & Co.
A vice president of media relations at Hill + Knowlton Strategies, April Andrews, said, “It’s time to see more Black stories, filmmakers and talent!”
Kusi Global Inc. CEO Talia Fox said, “Congratulations to Procter & Gamble for unpacking unconscious bias in the most human way possible: through STORY!” Energized by the possibility of broadening horizons, she challenges organizations, “With grace and grit, I dare you to give yourself (and your organizations) permission to grow!”
“Once again Procter & Gamble challenges perspectives with their thought provoking advertising. This time with ‘Widen the Screen’ which offers a fulsome look at the lives of Black people,” wrote The Hartford’s chief diversity & inclusion officer, Susan Johnson, on LinkedIn.
P&G’s chief brand officer, March Pritchard, also posted the ad on his LinkedIn while sharing the company’s commitment to advancing Black creators and talent.
The CPG giant collaborated with advertising agency Grey and Oscar-nominated director Kevin Wilson Jr. to produce a short anthem film, also entitled “Widen The Screen”, that premiered at the 2021 NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, March 27. The film, narrated by the actor Mahershala Ali, challenges viewers to break stereotypes about the characters and stories often played by Black actors and to portray a more holistic view of Black life on screen. It raises awareness of how the gap in representation on both sides of the camera paves the way to misrepresentation of and bias against communities in real life.
Karen Gail Javier
Karen is responsible for editorial support and covers agency, digital content, and D&I news.