P&G's Pantene brand has launched a campaign that attempts to invert the usage of ‘WanitaBesi’, a Bahasa Malaysia phrase that translates as ‘Iron Lady’ and is normally used as an insult toward ‘unfeminine’ women.
In the film by Grey Malaysia and producer Think Tank, three strong Malaysia women—singer Yuna, fitness guru Linora Low and diver Adeline Chin—endure raised eyebrows and outright taunting. But as you might expect since the campaign falls under the brand's 'Strong is beautiful' platform, they are undeterred by this social pressure. For example, Low is seen adding a hashtag to the term after some small-minded conformists scratch it into her locker door.
This is the second time recently that Ad Nut has seen work that recontextualises insulting language (see "Confrontational campaign asks, 'Who are the real retards?'"), and Ad Nut is glad of it. Language gives form to attitudes, so it's a good place to start attacking prejudice.
As Yuna puts it in a release:
It is a fact that every year thousands of girls cast aside their passions under the weight of peer pressure. Phrases such as ‘Wanita Besi’ are used negatively in the schools, sports fields and across social media, forcing us to doubt ourselves and give up on our dreams. It’s time to flip the script. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of strong women in my life, or as I now call them ‘WanitaBesi’. Together we can all inspire each other to chase after our dreams.
The campaign, which launched over the weekend in cinemas, also marks the first time Pantene Malaysia has shown a woman wearing a hijab. The soundtrack, Ad Nut is told, is a nursery rhyme, but with a re-written final verse that "transforms it from a child’s song, into an anthem of strength".
Graham Drew, Executive Creative Director
Andrew Fong, Creative Group Head
Jo Yau, General Manager
Brendon Low, Copywriter
Sandy Ng, Art Director
Suzy Chiang, Producer
Sharon Rodrigues, Group Brand Director
Audrey Chua, Account Executive
Huma Qureshi, Regional Director, PR & Corp Comms AMEA
Production: Think Tank Directors Sdn Bhd
Post Production: VHQ Post (KL)
Sound Production: Fuse Asia Sdn Bhd
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