Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 6.05.29 PM

A new advertising spot from Pantene Philippines is taking on the big issue of gender parity in the workplace. Playing on how the same behaviors are labeled positively for men and negatively for women, it encourages women “not to let labels hold them back.” Presumably by buying the correct label when it comes to shampoo…

The ad is well produced, with a haunting cover of Tears for Fears’s “Mad World” playing over twin scenes of men and women in the business world with labels shifting ever so slightly as the camera moves. There is nary a Pantene bottle to be found, although everyone naturally has very lovely hair, and the spot cleverly points out the challenges women face in the workplace in competing with male peers.

With almost 4 million views at the time of writing, it looks like they’ve got the marketer’s dream, a viral hit, on their hands.

However, some commenters have pointed out that although the commercial calls attention to an important issue, it also co-opts an emotionally charged issue in order to sell shampoo, all the while reinforcing the idea that you had better be attractive if you expect to make it anywhere in this world.

We have to give props to Pantene for going with a thoughtful spot on gender stereotypes and double standards rather than the usual bouncy gaggle of girls shopping, but it’s hard not to view it with more than a little cynicism either, considering how much they and parent company Proctor and Gamble profit by capitalizing on those same stereotypes.

  While an assertive male is the boss, …

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 6.38.00 PM

  his female counterpart is bossy.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 6.03.37 PM

  Likewise, a male speaker is “persuasive,” but a female speaker is…

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 6.04.10 PM

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: YouTube via Adweek
Images: YouTube