AdAge: Why P&G is Putting More Money Behind Black Creators and Media

ADAGE: Procter & Gamble Co. is launching an expanded content and talent platform for Black creators to increase their work across the advertising, film and TV industries, part of the company's growing effort to diversify where it spends media and production dollars.

Widen The Screen, an umbrella under which P&G’s efforts to expand spending with Black-owned media also fits, kicked off with a film by the same name that premiered Saturday night during the 2021 NAACP Image Awards on ViacomCBS networks (watch below). The film was produced and created by a team of largely Black creators in collaboration with WPP’s Grey and Cartwright, directed by Oscar-nominated director Kevin Wilson, Jr. and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali.

The end line, “Let’s widen the screen to widen our view,” is the point of a growing number of P&G efforts to challenge expectations viewers have about Black stories and characters. The film seemingly sets up stereotypical portrayals, such as a Black single mother or crimes involving Black men, only to show very different themes of family events and camaraderie.

This summer, P&G will work with Black creatives and filmmakers in partnership with Black-owned production houses Spring Hill Entertainment and Saturday Morning to show a young boy’s journey to opportunities beyond athletics. Working with Saturday Morning, Tribeca and dozens of Black creatives, P&G is creating a series of what it describes as “life affirming” scripted stories, each told in exactly 8 minutes and 46 seconds—the length of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck when he killed Floyd last May.

And, in its third year, the P&G-backed Queen Collective, a multicultural talent development initiative involving Queen Latifah, Flavor Unit Entertainment and Tribeca Studios, will produce four documentary-style productions with women filmmakers, up from two each of the past two years.

Widen The Screen also encompasses efforts to support Black creators through programs including the Marcus Graham Project and the One Club for Creativity’s One School; continued support of talent development initiatives like Adcolor; and increasing investment in Black-owned and operated companies and media platforms. The effort will also include collaborations with majority-owned ad agencies (like Grey) to strengthen their inclusion efforts.

Read the full interview here.