It's a simple message: Beware of racism in the United States. But Procter & Gamble took a calculated risk with its ad that features black mothers speaking to children about racial bias through the decades, reports the AP. The company says it knew there might be a backlash and the ad has been criticized as being anti-police or anti-white. But it says it felt after hearing from consumers that the ad would be worth it. "The Talk," which makes no mention of any P&G product, is part of a shift by some corporations that are making emotional appeals to consumers by treading into territory that could be polarizing. But experts say there are likely to be more of these ads, as companies seek younger customers who respond to them.
In the P&G video released online last month, a mom in the 1950s tells her daughter she is not just "pretty for a black girl," as someone told the girl, but "beautiful, period." And a mom in the 1960s tells her son he may hear an epithet, but not to let it hurt him. Another mom, this time in the 1990s, reminds her son to take his identification with him as he sets off for practice. The video, to begin airing on national TV next week, then invites people to discuss it online with the hashtag #TalkAboutBias. Some are applauding it, others see the ad as stroking racial animosity. But "the people the ad would alienate are a small percentage," says one communication expert. "I, as a CEO, would probably think, 'If I lose some racists because of this, I'm OK with that.'"