Cannes Lions

The Choice

PROCTER & GAMBLE, Cincinnati / PROCTER & GAMBLE / 2021

Film
Digital Proof JPG
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Black culture drives American culture – music, dance, food, and even vernacular, but when you turn on the television, we’re bombarded by negative stereotypes of Black people represented as thugs, drug addicts or uneducated. This is a direct result of the lack of representation in the industry. In fact, research shows that less than 6% of writers, directors and producers of US-produced films are Black.

P&G’s mission on racial injustice was now a mandate -- start to normalize the beauty of everyday Black life at a critical inflection moment in American history.

Our objectives were clear: Get people to adjust their lens and confront the bias that drives narrow portrayals of Black life by showing everyday life as layered, beautiful and dynamic. Foster understanding and address structural racism in the creative and media supply chain. Provide more opportunities for Black creators behind the camera and on screen.

Idea

Widen The Screen is a expansive content creation, talent development, and partnership platform that celebrates creativity and enables Black creators to share the full richness of the Black experience while connecting them to P&G’s extensive list of creative and media partners for opportunities to work in the media and advertising industry. Because only when we Widen the Screen, we widen our spectrum of the images we see, the voices we hear and the stories we tell.

Strategy

The racial disparities that exist within the creative and media world are staggering. From 2007 – 2019, only 8 of 1447 directors identified as Black women. In 2019, Black characters accounted for 15.7% of all film roles.

It became clear that advertising and media institutions maintain these disparities, resulting in limited opportunities for Black creators, ultimately perpetuating stories that exist only in extremes. It negates the fullness of the Black experience, the beauty, joy and even the hard conversations. We needed a powerful platform that invited people to shift their perspectives to change biased beliefs.

Our platform has broad appeal: White Americans now forced to think about how their privilege helped to perpetuate generations of racial injustice. Decision makers in the industry who can break down systems that prevent creators from getting roles. Creators eager to share their stories not only about Black life, but their perspective on the world.

Execution

From the onset of the project, P&G made a concerted effort to work with a majority of Black writers, producers, directors and crew.

The “Widen the Screen” platform was introduced on national broadcast during the 2021 NAACP Image Awards with a powerful 2 minute film. We knew that we couldn’t just present the beauty of everyday Black life. We needed make people confront their bias, making them feel a little uncomfortable so that they can shift perspectives about Black people.

To galvanize the conversation, we partnered with TikTok and invited Black creators to share their craft to #widenthescreen. To fuel the pipeline, we created a database that connected them to P&G's creative and media partners for work on future projects.

During the Oscars, we aired the film and hosted a conversation on Twitter Spaces with some of the industry’s top thought leaders and creators about diversity in film and media.

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