How Pantene and Grey gave a woman the 15th birthday she deserved | #BehindTheIdea

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When Grey received an open brief from Pantene from 2022, the only thing they knew was that they would have to craft one of the most compelling and impactful stories ever made in support of the LGBTQ+ community this year.

In the end, the agency stuck with giving a transgender woman the quince she deserves, 29 years later - at the age of 44. Her name was Isa. And in just 6 weeks of work, the campaign aired, with the aim to position Pantene as not only a brand interested in supporting the LGBTQ+ community, but also one that shines light on the most pressing matters within it.

Today we are getting Behind the Idea with Arturo Macouzet, Creative Director at Grey, to learn more about this incredible campaign for Pantene.

What was the brief?

Pantene has consistently supported the LGBTQ community with cause-based campaigns (over the past 5 years). For 2022 - we received an open brief, asking how to tell a single, powerful story to shine light on a broader issue facing the community. 

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

We found several stories, in several countries - where culture and tradition intersected with gender identity: but the one closest tied to Pantene and hair as a reflection of identity - landed us in Mexico. Where we dove deeper into the tradition of the Quinceañera - the celebration of a girl becoming a woman - and how trans women were excluded from this cultural milestone.

What was the process behind ideating the concept?/What was the production process like?

The most impactful work must tell the most powerful story - which all depends on the storyteller. So, the first challenge was finding the right story to tell. Was it a 15 year old trans woman about to have her quince? Was it someone who always wanted a quince but never got one? In the end - we found the most powerful message was to give a transgender woman the quince she deserves, 29 years later - at the age of 44. Her name was Isa. Since we were shooting in real time the preparation and the celebration, we decided to go for an authentic, but beautifully real documentary style. Telling her real story, with her real family, at her real home. 

What was the biggest challenge during production? How did you overcome it?

Timeline! Casting was non-stop for two weeks. We had to find our girl quickly, to then create the narrative of the film around her authentic story in one week. From shoot to shipment, we had three weeks. The entire team was dedicated to tell this story and launch for Trans Visibility Day. 

What is one funny or notable thing that happened during production?

We knew the basics of Isa’s story from meeting her in casting - but the biggest surprise that changed the entire direction of our message was the acceptance of her father. We went there to tell Isa’s story and document her quince party - but shooting everything live, in real time, we captured the mending of a lifelong relationship, a father accepting his daughter as the woman she is - for the first time. 

What’s the main message of this project and why does it matter?

At 15 or 51 - becoming a woman is a moment to celebrate. Our goal was to use the single story of Isa to inspire millions. To give visibility to trans women and the beauty that comes from being your true self. Because Pantene believes EVERY woman deserves to be celebrated. 

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

From the time this project was green-lit, it was produced and aired in less than 6 weeks. It was extremely important to us to launch this piece on March 31st - International Day of Trans Visibility - to let Isa’s story be seen as a message of hope and inspiration for all trans people watching. So, this necessitated an extremely tight turnaround, from conception, pre-pro, casting, production, editing, and finishing. 

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

Pantene’s goal is to be seen not only as an ally to the LGBTQ community but as one who actively works to shine a light on the issues faced by this community - in order to help solve them (in every culture)While at the same time, celebrating the power of hair that reflects our identity.

Credit list for the work?

Advertiser: Procter & Gamble 
Brand: Pantene 
First Air Date: March 31st, 2022

Creative Agency: Grey
Chief Creative Officer: Justine Armour  
Executive Creative Director: Javier Bonilla   
Global Creative Director: Arturo Macouzet  
ACD Copywriter: Bryan Burns
ACD Art Director: Emily Pracher
Global Client Leader for P&G, WPP: Debby Reiner
SVP Account Director: Sara Jett  
VP Account Director: Stephanie Zapata
Senior Account Executive: Lili Rodriguez-Baz  
Planning Director: Mariana Quintanilha  
Planning Director: Lauren Friezo
Manager Data Strategist: Daniel Avon 
Planner: Michaela Kerrigan   

Production Agency: Townhouse
Chief Production Officer: James McPherson 
VP Director of Integrated Production: Kim Kietz  
VP Executive Producer: Keira Rosenthal  
VP Integrated Producer: Lauren Gordon  
Senior Music Producer: Leland Drake  
Associate Music Producer: Beliansh Assefa
Business Manager: Timothy O’Shea  
VP Head of Talent: Natasha Howell    

Production: Fauna
Director & Co-DoP: Nicole Heiniger  
Camera Operator& Co-DoP: Nico Mayer  
Executive Producer: Grazi Nadruz  
Line Producer: Melinha Lobo  
Set Designer: Estela Padilha  

Local Production: HOME
Executive Producer: Ari Garza  
Head of Production: Carlos Vargas
Producer: Erika Sol Lopez
1st Assistant Director: Mario Solan
Set Decorator: Andres Lessing
Make-up Artist: Vicente Montoya
Wardrobe Stylist: Juan Ignacio Chialvo 
Talent Coordinator: JC Casting

Post Production: Gramercy Park Studios
Managing Director: Lauren Kulchinsky 
Executive Post Producer: Ned Martin 
Assistant Audio Engineer: Amanda Fuentes
Post Producer: Juan S. Robles  


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