This Ad Made Me Cry

How some companies are doing the right thing

by | Aug 1, 2017 | Re-Invent, What's New? |

This morning, an ad made made me cry.

During my daily ritual of perusing a few articles dumped into my inbox or social media feeds, I came across a video with Sheryl Sandberg honoring companies whose ads break from, or challenge stereotypes.   My attention was pointed to Procter and Gamble, who not only challenges stereotypes, but is also a massive cheer-leader for Moms.  Yes, it makes sense that they would support moms, as they are their target audience.  However, to challenge beliefs around the roles we play, that earned my respect.

To challenge cultural norms and point out blind spots of an entire country, that earned my awe.

This ad, originally released in India in 2015 (as far as I can tell) brought tears to my eyes.   Check it out!

What is amazing about this campaign, is that not only was this the right thing to do socially, it was also the right thing to do financially.  Check out this video report on the effect of that commercial on the brand in India.

 

This campaign effort touched me deeply to see a company stand up and defend their clients against unfair biases.  As someone who just hosted her second non-profit, mission driven event – “The Business Value of Being a Parent,” I know the risk of challenging blindly held beliefs.

I challenged stereotypes about the value of being a parent.  Why? Because the bias against the value of this time, is something all of my clients encounter as they try to relaunch their careers.  It is a barrier to great career entry that needs to be removed.   This is no easy feat, as the majority of the country, moms included, believe in the antiquated perception that time spent as a parent has minimal value.  As I earned a grand total of $50 for over 100 hours of work to put on this event, I doubt this investment of my time will have the same financial benefits as P&G’s ad, but I do know it was the right thing to do.

I find it inspiring to learn about companies that are willing to challenge antiquated beliefs and use their social power and money to bring people face to face with the inequalities, misconceptions and biases that still exist everywhere.  To do so, they risk swimming against the current and potentially losing customers who may not be so keen on seeing the faults in their way of thinking.   But, as recent events in Virginia have spotlighted, it is critical that we continue to stand up and speak out against the irrational biases of the past.  (For another inspirational piece, check out this powerful ad from Heineken.)

As a woman who has felt the sting of bias, and worked hard to be seen and heard in a world made by and for men, I truly value efforts by any company to stand for what is right, not just what has always been.  We need powerful voices behind this idea to look beyond our beliefs and question what is true today.  It’s the only way we will get people to listen and open up their eyes to reality instead of their blind perceptions.

Unfortunately, the people who need to question their beliefs the most are people like the husband in the ad above.   They are the ones that are oblivious to any infraction, offense or injustice being committed.  They are the ones that fail to question why things are the way they are.  They are the ones that fail to see how the hand is stacked in their favor.

Who are these people?  We are.

All of us commit offenses against others without knowing it.  We are oblivious to our own blind spots – that’s why they are called blind spots!  It is only through bravely asking the hard questions, listening to the feedback and opening to the perspective of another that we will begin to see the whole picture…the real truth.

In addition to speaking out publicly about the biases I reject in speaking engagements and conversations, I’m making a commitment to pause and think about my beliefs and question whether they apply and are appropriate in today’s world and for the situation I am in.  I’m welcoming the hard conversations as best I can (I won’t lie -they are hard), and turning to those who I know will help me see a different perspective.

Perhaps you will join me.

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  Learn more about Julia and her work HERE

Julia Freeland is an entrepreneur and a catalyst for change.  She has been pushing boundaries, and inspiring others to do the same, since she first discovered they were limiting her from getting to where she wanted to go. The antiquated perspective of what parents do when they step away from their careers to care for their children is one of those boundaries she is working to break.  Interested in learning more about her passion for reinvention or just wondering how she inspires people to change? Please connect on LinkedIn or follow her on Instagram @REvolveYOU.