P&G's Poignant Pride Film Imagines a World Without Hesitation for LGBTQ+ Folks

No one should have to put their love on 'pause'

Procter & Gamble marks Pride Month with "The Pause," a short film that examines the moment of hesitation for LGBTQ+ people as they decide how to introduce a partner, or consider how much of themselves to reveal in casual conversations with strangers, co-workers and even some friends.

Developed with Grey New York, the 60-second spot takes a direct approach, presenting candid interviews with diverse members of the LGBTQ+ community. This format adds a layer of irony and pathos, because the PSA deals with the emotional distress caused by avoiding directness and hesitating to share one's true self:

The Pause

The subjects say they feel guarded and resentful, unable to properly introduce their partners or reveal certain aspects of their lives. They're always on guard against negative or even hateful reactions from an all-too-often intolerant world. "It's nonstop," one says. The hurt festers, leaving scars.

No one should ever have to live like that—full stop.

"The Pause" closes with the line: "When love surrounds, there is no pause," the #LeadWithLove hashtag and a web address where viewers can get more information.

As it turns out, Grey's impetus for the work was personal.

"One of our team said that, although she came out to her family 20 years ago, she still comes out every day to somebody, never really knowing if it's safe to disclose her full self," agency creative chief Justine Armour tells Muse. "It was an eye-opening and heartbreaking revelation for those of us on the team who don't need to negotiate the world like that."

"It's also great illustration of how a diverse team can lead to work that gets deep inside an issue," creating work that "drives empathy and brings people in while it educates," she says.

Last year, Grey produced a pair of notable inclusivity-themed campaigns with P&G's Pantene and GLADD. For Pride 2019, the team reimagined the shampoo brand's Reagan-era "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful" ads for an LGBTQ+ audience. And a moving year-end film explored what going home for the holidays can mean for trans people.

Now, in addition to launching "The Pause," P&G and its brands have joined with iHeartMedia for "Can't Cancel Pride," a star-studded benefit to raise $5 million for LGBTQ+ community impacted by Covid-19.

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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