Op-Ed | #StrongerNow versus #SeeBeautyNotGender

Pantene Philippines, beauty, Kevin Balot, Pantene Thailand,
Image: Pantene Philippines first transgender Brand Ambassador, Kevin Balot



UPDATE November 27, 2018 below!

I couldn’t help having this comparison.

Pantene haircare line has been residing in my bathroom along with the other haircare brands and products that I’ve been using for many years, and I know how this brand works well with me.

For me, there is no need to further discussion about its benefits – you have to try the product, and experience the result.




Same with other brands, explaining thorough its ingredients and contents are starting to get boring and uninteresting – the molecules and particles combined, and other scientific words that most couldn’t understand especially in our friends in the below C-market.

I mean who cares what particles Unilever have input in that creamy product – if the products makes me feel and smells good, and I’ll stick and keep on using it.

But what makes us more interesting or curious about the brand?

In my case, the brands’ latest campaign that could add more value to the customers and the modern society. And I admire those firms that could think outside-the-box, and shares humane ads.

Pantene Philippines, beauty, Kevin Balot, Pantene Thailand,
Image: Pantene Thailand

Few months ago, I stumbled on my Facebook feed the latest Pantene Thailand’s campaign featuring the transgender women of the society – the latest #SeeBeautyNotGender campaign talks about how Thailand is becoming more accepting and welcoming to these people, but still these are instance that they experience indifference. Pantene Thailand’s campaign tells the stories of these beautiful people in different walks of life and profession in their ordinary life stories stripping off bias and stereotypes. These are real and authentic moments that are not portrayed in the media and majority of the time go unseen by the public. The film also featured LGBT celebrities; Treechada Petcharat, also known as Poyd (Thai and international superstar, Miss International Queen), Kulchaya Tansiri (Miss Trans Star Thailand 2018), Nicha Rongram (Committee of The Foundation of Transgender Alliance for Human Rights), Nijshanaaj Sudlarphaar, also known as Sarina Thai (First Thai transgender model on NYFW Runway since 2013) and Tachanan Khontong (Actress).

In this video, the Pantene Thailand shares the true stories of these people in their ordinary life, and setting aside what Pantene products are. They know that the product doesn’t need further explanation why the consumer must buy them, but they cleverly tapped their customers’ emotional and human side and successfully gains the support of their customers.



But that is a different story in Pantene Philippines.

Few weeks ago as they launched the newly improved Pantene product (actually I think it’s the same, and just changed the packaging), Pantene Philippines also introduced the new setsssss (yup lots of S’s) of brand ambassador which I believe are kind of boring. All with the same faces and not-so-interesting-and-not-relatable-stories, however there is one new brand ambassador that captured my attention.

Pantene Philippines, beauty, Kevin Balot, Pantene Thailand,
Image: Pantene Philippines

It was also the milestone for Pantene Philippines to introduce the first transgender brand ambassador in the country. Her name is Kevin Balot (Miss International Queen 2012) and is now part of the roster of the beautiful faces that represent Pantene Philippines. Also shared her genuine stories of pain and acceptance, adding Balot is a huge milestone for this hair care brand and also signifies that they belong to our modern society.



What only disappoints me is how Pantene Philippines didn’t grab fully the opportunity of featuring this huge milestone. Yes, they featured inclusivity but doesn’t shows emphasis?

Why give more prominence on these mainstream brand ambassadors, and rather just give this moment to celebrate the other part of our society – the transgender. Watching the video clips (from various bloggers uploaded online), I personally felt uncomfortable seeing Ms. Balot quite isolated at the back of these mainstream ambassadors.

Pantene Philippines, beauty, Kevin Balot, Pantene Thailand,
I put a little illustration for easy explanation.

If she is the QUEEN that they always scream, why they didn’t give the front seat to Ms. Balot next to their most high-profile ambassador?

Is this how #StrongerNow campaign is?

In this kind of milestone, I expect Pantene Philippines will give more recognition for Kevin Balot, as the newest brand ambassador.

Or they just included her for the sake of inclusivity?

Enough of just flashing and giving more emphasis to your mainstream ambassadors, coz serious its getting boring and boring, as they have the same faces.... seriously.

We need genuine and valuable stories, featuring new people. NO need on promoting the mainstream idols coz we’ve been seeing them like literally everywhere.

And for once, Pantene Philippines should share continued stories aligned from the campaigns in other countries. After all, they are just under one-umbrella, right?

In this two campaign, Pantene Thailand’s campaign is a huge WIN, and Pantene Philippines is a disappointing lose.

Enough for featuring sad stories, and focus on how they succeed coz that’s matters most. We don’t need DRAMA, the new generation needs INSPIRATION.

Think outside the box, people.

*****

UPDATE, November 27, 2018 - I got a message from Pantene Philippines PR and shared to my inbox the good news - Ms. Kevin Balot now have her own featured video!

Watch the video, and don't forget to have your hanky with you coz this is kinda tearjerker.


To celebrate the Transgender Awareness Week, Pantene Philippines is showing its solidarity with the LGBTQ community by releasing an inspiring video that features the story of the first ever transgender beauty queen and their first ever transgender ambassador, Kevin Balot.

We are moving forward and I strongly feel this is a brighter future for us!



xo, Blair



124 LOVES AND COMMENTS:

  1. I totally agree with you! There is no need for drama and honestly the drama is getting a little boring. It's time to inspire :) n

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    1. We all know that "life is full of drama" and it is so tiring on giving focus on those drama, and give petty sympathy just to capture the market. The market needs inspiration and power!

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  2. I was expecting Pantene Philippines did the same thing with Thailand's. But I agree with you, it was a disappointment. They should've given the spotlight to Kevin Balot, the person who has a true inspiring story to share.

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    1. They didn't give priority to this big milestone.

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  3. I agree! We should put wonderful life stories of people and how they can inspire others through that instead of just putting an idol’s face just to sell it. In my own opinion, if only brand ambassadors are inspiring people instead of famous ones, we’ll be able to touch the heart of not just the Filipino but the world. That’s even a bigger market and got more sense.

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    1. That is true and more sustainable, long term even when the brand ambassador is gone ties with their brand.

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  4. Whoa. It's the first time I've seen this bold movement in advertisement, particularly the Philippines, which is a very conservative country. The trends have indeed changed.

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    1. Yes it is time - but I believe Philippines isn't 100% conservative anymore. Thailand is more conservative - example. Thai people knows the word "respect" in its full 360-term, no matter who you affiliate, your status, your views - because you are human.

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  5. Honestly, I need products to go back and do what they used to do which was selling the products.I don't need a story to buy a product,if it works it works if it doesn't I choose another.

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    Replies
    1. Well having various brand campaigns are essential to gain more value to the brand, and also for the consumer. But sometimes yeah, we don't care about what they present - if you like it and can buy it then grab it.

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  6. I love supporting everyone and anyone, there should never be someone over anyone! Haha! Love always wins!

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  7. It's a sad truth! Discrimination.. I agree with all the comments here! Wala na akong masabi pa..

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    1. Discrimination might be a harsh word to use - I prefer "not giving emphasis". Can't say it's discrimination coz they did make an effort (but not enough, no bang!).

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  8. Very interesting matter that really needs attention and awareness.

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  9. I've always loved Pantene products and still have the shampoo/conditioner combo in my shower. I love and respect that they are breaking through so many glass barriers. thank you for sharing this.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Even without this campaign, Pantene is somehow always in my shopping cart and bathroom... I love how it works on my hair.

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  10. It's unfortunate that such things still happen when this type of event is to 'celebrate' women's stories. :(

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    1. I agree. They already started it and I wonder why still have like a "soft opening?"

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  11. Very interesting how the two countries approached the campaign. Maybe the Philippines is not as opened as Thailand to transgender people, and the brand is more careful with its actions?

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    1. You might be right, however it is a huge opportunity that they missed. Philippines have many gorgeous women including transgender women, and it should be a celebration.

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  12. Wow! Such an interesting topic. I do love that they are trying to include everyone.

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    1. I agree. I think they should include the male transgender, after all they are also part of consuming market :D

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  13. Definitely don't like any drama either. Diversity is a subject that must be given more attention since it is a prevalent subject nowadays.

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    Replies
    1. That is true! However, when we use a little drama in a right way, it gives an impacted result.

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  14. This is quite interesting as we should be celebrating diversity in all it's forms. I guess it's always still about what makes your brand more money, with the message second...

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  15. It's a very sensitive topic advertising and minorities. On the one hand it's a product that wants to be sold and earn a lot of money on the other hand it's thematizing an important topic. I think it's actually just a new way of trying to get more attention for product in the end.

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    1. Advertising and media have a huge role to start this conversation, that's why it must executed the campaign right. Because without conversation, the topic becomes sensitive, which it shouldn't be.

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  16. Now that is an interesting way to market. They are smart to market to this consumer.

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    Replies
    1. That is true! Thus this kind of campaign also happens in your country?

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  17. What an absolutely wonderful thing for them to be doing! I am glad are trying to be all inclusive more.

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    Replies
    1. I agree, and hope the PH-part would continue this advocacy.

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  18. I applaud Pantene for adopting a campaign that's more inclusive. I agree that Kevin Balot deserved to be center stage as well but still appreciate that Pantene made an important first step. Hopefully other brands with follow and have the conviction to fully see their decision through.

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    Replies
    1. They need to make the campaign and advocacy consistent, or it will die fast.

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  19. Pantene is a great product ever. I am using this for many years and Pantene was so amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Mom is a huge influencer in the family. I've grown Pantene always in our bathroom.

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  20. I don’t really understand having to have certain people included. Just find people that do the job well. I don’t need a story to sell me something just a good product.

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  21. I know there are so many transgenders in Thailand so it is not surprising to see Pantene is using these people to help them promote. Thanks for sharing the difference between two campaign Philippines vs Thailand and have an insigt view of yours.

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    1. I am not only a good shopper, I do observe before I shop.

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  22. This is a really interesting read, thank you!

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  23. "We don’t need DRAMA, the new generation needs INSPIRATION". Indeed! but instead make a wonderful story to inspired other.

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  24. I love that Pantene promotes their brand while bringing awareness and acceptance to all peoples, transgender and LGBQT. This is really great!
    xoxo
    Annie

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    Replies
    1. I agree, there should be no labelling because everyone is beautiful!

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  25. Good to know that the new ambassador is transgender. I am agree with you about the packaging thing nothing new just the outside packaging is changed.

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  26. Yes, I love Pantene. I have been using it since high school and it's the only shampoo that helped me prevent falling hair. Can't see myself switching anytime soon.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I like it too makes my hair soft, easy to comb and fresh all day and night.

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  27. Ooh I love that pantene has created a new campaign with a transgender model. I always use the conditioner and now innate even more respect for the brand!

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  28. Really hate the drama among products. Like cmon, its 2018! Don't know why people are still against LGBT.

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    Replies
    1. They need to go out there from their comfort zone.

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  29. India just decriminalised homosexuality,giving more acceptance to the LGBT community .I am happy that Pantene supports the cause .

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  30. Hello, I genuinely enjoyed your blog and the photos. I absolutely love the black skirt with the buttons on the first photo.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you dear! Photos are not mine, they are from the PR, and I'm not the one in these photos.

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  31. Very interesting matter that really needs attention and awareness.

    . And as a user of Pantene, I am really glad that they are doing it.

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  32. I couldn't agree more! There is too much drama nowadays already everywhere, there is no need to put it here as well!

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  33. I think sharing the stories is so important, but I hope they are doing it to genuinely share the stories and not only for the sake of the sale! (I know that's the whole goal but it shouldn't be the only focus)

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha I agree on your point. But let's be clear that this isn't a charity. Pantene is a business :D At least they are spreading awareness.

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  34. I've used Pantene products and they have been around a long time for good reason.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Now I wonder who collects the Pantene bottle since its beginning? Because the packaging keeps on changing!

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  35. Not everyone gets it perfectly. I do think good efforts were made by everyone though!

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  36. I think they just wanted to cover all demographic.. Representation is enough though..... After all men got long hair too but we're not complaining.....

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    1. On that point, now I wonder Why they didn't include real men with long hair!

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  37. Well I'm glad that the campaign in Thailand turned out the way it did. However I do agree that it would have been great to do the same in the Philippines.

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    1. Philippines is a country that is SHY is many ways and can't admit fully it exists.

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  38. This post is so interesting! I literally had no idea about any of this going on at all! Wow, I didn't know that Pantene was supporting the LGBT community like this overseas. Well done!

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  39. What an amazing campaign! Pantene sure gained me as a customer today.

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  40. While I get that brands are trying to be inclusive and connect with their audience, sometimes it falls flat. There should be a reason or purpose and not just doing so to be PC.

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    Replies
    1. You got a point. It is pointless is you do it just because you find it "on trend".

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  41. What's important is if the product works, not really what social agenda the product wants to sell. All people deserve to be treated fairly, so bravo for bringing awareness.

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  42. It is another milestone in the industry to have the first trans in their line up. Maybe, we could give them some more time to completely embrace this change.

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  43. This make me really sad that why Pantene Philippines shows this difference? Exactly WE - the new generation need inspiration. Say no to drama.

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    Replies
    1. More inspiring stories with less drama. I look forward for more of this kind of campaigns.

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  44. I didn't realize that Pantene was out there doing outreach to the transgender community. That is cool that they are doing such outreach.

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  45. What a beautiful video talking about us all being a part of the same human race. We all have feelings and value. Thank you for sharing your story. Love always wins!

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  46. Wonderful post emphasizing on important issue along with significant event.

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  47. It's great to see all stories. As a society we should be accepting enough that this is mainstream.

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    Replies
    1. If we continuously talk about this subject, it will become mainstream.

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  48. Great observation! I wonder how she felt while she was sitting at the back. Anyway, the Philippine advertisement is slowly changing. It's great that they are now open to different genders despite the large population of bigots.

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    1. If I am the brand manager, I should have place Anne Curtis in the back. After all, she is already a mainstream - no need for further highlights.

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  49. I love pantene. Its such a great product ever. I love its smell and it makes my hair soft and healthier.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. This is one of the good haircare product.

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  50. I love this the last part: We don’t need DRAMA, the new generation needs INSPIRATION.This such an inspiration.

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  51. I've loved the way pantene always works the best for me. It is always in my list of products when I go for shopping.

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    Replies
    1. They already got one of the chuck-size of the market.

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  52. I love it when a brand campaigns like this and shows it can be versatile. It makes me want to support that brand and back it! Great post.

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  53. Wow great to know this, also my country India is showing support!

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    1. Yeah, I saw their campaign for India and it was awesome!

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  54. I learned a lot from this post. I didn't know that there was so much going on with Pantene and its advertising campaigns in other countries. Very insightful!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting! Getting involved in the community adds strong value to the brand.

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  55. I must say that advertising normally hits the emotional branding and also inspirational stories. Drama may be there but hopefully much lesser and emphasize the empowerment

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  56. Nice info this article. It seems to be superficial but along the way it's a real change on cultures. Thanks

    Ben - www.nutrition-newage.com

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    Replies
    1. There isn't no superficial here, IMHO. This is the reality.

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  57. I also admire those firms that could think outside-the-box, and shares humane ads. I love Pantene and use it regularly.

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  58. I just noticed that Thailand has been producing great ads. I mean meaningful ones. Not the bland songs and jingles we have here in the PH

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    Replies
    1. Because in Thailand, there is a strict government agency who regulates their ads. Ads must incorporate Thai-ness good values.

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  59. Great topic every one should look into this. Helping people is always great.

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  60. Such an important message I love this!

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  61. I loved reading about the positive recognition gender equality is receiving. Thank you for letting us all know about this important story.

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  62. Wow, that's sad. I agree, they could've taken the opportunity to highlight other women! Oh well.

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any partner brands/company(s), beauty & lifestyle brands, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities, unless specified.