There are two sides to pretty much every story. The general consensus is that Pantene's new ad, "Labels Against Women," makes this point simply and clearly. Carefully chosen captions reveal how males and females in identical job roles are perceived differently.
The controversy comes around whether a shampoo maker should be making such a statement. As Ally Van Schilt observes in lipmag.com, "entrenched double standards" are emphasized by the "ready applicability" of products which create "perfectly flawless and shiny hair," notably perpetuating "pervasive gender stereotypes."
Those differences are illustrated simply in the commercials. The fact that both men and women can be successful in the same role but perceived differently is illustrated just by changing a single-word caption. "Boss" becomes "bossy"; "persuasive" becomes "pushy"; "dedicated" becomes "selfish"; while "neat" becomes "vain".
But others also view the issue differently. While an article on Time's website said the ad "deftly breaks down the double standards men and women face in the workplace," some of the 100+ comments insisted the ad perpetuated rather than negated stereotypes.
Back at lipmag, Ms. Schilt saw the "concepts so well articulated and presented so neatly in a mainstream commercial for a large, multi-national and instantly recognizable company. ... It's a great marketing campaign in that it has garnered attention for its direct confrontation of a very real issue, as well as its ready applicability to their products that is new."
Trendhunter.com says stereotypes are broken down "by making them clear, and cleverly associating the word 'shine' with its glossy shampoo." While noting that commercials "have often been used to reinforce gender stereotypes," IBNlive goes on to say that this ad, created to end labels against women, generated Twitter descriptions such as "inspiring" and "extraordinary," demonstrating "its impact on the minds of viewers."
On several sites, Facebook COO and Lean In author, Sheryl Sandberg, is widely quoted: "This is one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen illustrating how when women and men do the same things, they are seen in completely different ways. Really worth watching. Lean In prize of the day for sure."
How would you grade Pantene's "Labels Against Women" commercial?