Posted by: abbey | February 17, 2016


We have watched several commercials from Pantene that have inspired us as women to not only be beautiful and confident, but to be leaders. They have challenged gender stereotypes, which is interesting as they are a brand that could potentially work to reinforce gender stereotypes, like women should only care about their hair and looks. However, they have had several motivational hashtags and movements that make their marketing more than just about selling products. One example was in 2013, when they started the #ShineStrong hashtag, which they describe as their “commitment to helping women across the world be strong and shine both inside and out” ( Their latest one that inspired me to write this blog post came shortly after the Superbowl, which is known as an event that is all about gender stereotypes and society’s expectations of our gender roles, as the all male players show their strength and masculinity, and women’s role is on the sideline as cheerleaders or news anchors. However, Pantene created commercials with the idea of showing your #DadDo. This campaign features NFL players with their young girls, and the fathers are charged with the task of doing their daughters hair, and feat that proves rather difficult for some. At the end of each clip, the daughters are proud of their father’s attempt, and are all smiles. The screen then shows a message saying “Girls who spend quality time with their dads grow up to be stronger women- Strong is Beautiful”.

Here’s one example commercial to watch (it’s too cute to miss):

I found this campaign interesting and inspiring for so many reasons. One, as a well-recognized, global company under the umbrella of P&G products, Pantene can gain a lot of attention. They use this short, adorable commercial to not only challenge gender stereotypes for parents by having the “masculine father” do his daughter’s hair (a traditionally female job), but they also are inspiring young girls to be strong. They do not have to be “manly” to be strong; they can wear princess crowns and bows and still be strong women. I believe that telling girls to be strong from a young age teaches them that it’s okay to stand up for the things you believe in, and make your opinion heard. Telling these young girls this will help them as they move into school, college, and the work force. It also calls fathers to invest in their daughters, slowly shifting society’s expectation of care-taking (in a stereotypical family home with a mother and father) from the mother to shared between both parents, allowing both genders wiggle room in the expectations of their gender.

This is incredibly pertinent to gender and leadership, as it works for both sides. It allows men to be seen as an equal caretaker if they want to be more present in their child’s life, and allows the mother more freedom to invest in her career if they wants. One would think that this movement comes from a company run by women, because it is so in tune with the feminist movement, however, the top two positions of leadership at P&G are men (President and CEO, and Executive Chairman of the Board). But I believe their values on their website show the type of company they are, as they state their responsibility is to “improve the lives of our consumers and employees, as well as serve the communities in which we live and work” ( I appreciate the way the leadership of this organization is utilizing media to shift the culture, even in the subtlest ways.


  1. The first time I saw one of these commercials and said “awww” for about 5 minutes afterwards. I really am impressed that Pantene continues these types of campaigns. I do agree that these young girls are learning to be strong with the presence of their dad around. I think that it’s not only important but it’s also necessary. If not a father, then some sort of support system in a young child’s life. I think that these campaigns help to encourage men and women as leaders in their family and can also show young girls, and even boys that it’s okay to embrace who you are and be strong in however that applies to you. I think it’s also cool that they chose NFL players because it gives them a chance to show their soft leadership side, a side that’s different from them being on the field. Super cool!

  2. The other thing that I really love about this campaign is that some of the commercials combat stereotypes about black fatherhood as well–ones that imply that black fathers are generally absent and/or uncaring towards their kids. A lot of black fathers embrace fatherhood to the fullest degree in order to be the exact opposite of that negative image. This campaign should show that it isn’t uncommon whatsoever!

  3. I agree that these girls are learning to be strong, but I believe that this strength comes from the mother and father. I get the commercial was supposed to be showing how the young girls gained strength through their very “manly” fathers doing simple actions such as creating a hair style, but why not show the mothers doing the hair styles. Better yet why not show the mothers with the children doing something strong and empowering. To me, this commercial is not empowering to the girls, only to their fathers. It shows the fathers that the mother’s job is not easy and perhaps will make them realize that just because the mother works with smaller sized people does not her job any easier. The commercial would have been better if it showed the mothers teaching the fathers how to do hair styles. No matter though, the commercial was still cute to watch and the children all seemed well looked after and loved. I do wonder how much time their fathers spend with them though to not know what type of hair styles the children prefer.

  4. It is always really something extraordinary when a huge company such as this steps out from society norms and teaches a strong message. Most commercials these days utilize gender roles to their advantage in recognition that one gender will buy more of the product than the other. But now here is a commercial that is all about equality, advertising to both men and women the same. It makes me want to go out and buy some Pantene Shampoo! Also this idea that strong is beautiful too, is so important for today’s kids. Showing that women should not be afraid of being not only physically strong, but mentally strong. Great Post!

  5. So, I do really love seeing these commercials, especially because of all the messages this short commercial is sending from Pantene. Girls can be pretty and strong, black fathers can have a part in their child’s life, dads everywhere can pick up some of the household duties, and little kids are just so damn cute (excuse my language). I think it was brave and morally right for Pantene to put together this set of commercials, it shows that they are truly committed to the message they are sending out. I’m with Travis on this one, I want to go out and buy their products! However, I really focused on the dad role of doing the daughters hair as what I thought about the most. It actually reminded me of a Youtube compilation of dad’s doing their daughter’s hair. While I could not find that compilation, I did find one of the clips from it and I thought I would share it with you: I don’t want to spoil the clip, but the dad does what he needs to do to complete the mission. It takes me back to the times when my dad had to do my sister’s hair and it was just rough. He brushed too hard, he couldn’t collect all the hairs, he couldn’t braid like my mom, he got frustrated too quickly, he kept leaving a bump on her head, and then those pesky wispys just would not go away. The hair do is not an easy task, but it is one that these NFL fathers will not shy away from, they are ready to accept the challenge.

  6. I really do see the good in encouraging dad’s to take a more active role in their daughters, but as a girl who grew up without a father I see a huge flaw in the ad campaign. I was fine with it until the end when it said “Girls who spend quality time with their dad’s grow up to be stronger women.” I am really interested to know where they received their information? I like to think growing up with a single mother will make me a stronger women in a sense. I have a mother who is both a mom and a dad. When my dad left my mother when she was pregnant it forced her to become stronger. I would like to think growing up without a dad does not make me weak, but a strong independent minded women.

    Sorry for the mini rant, but I thought it was something that needed to be addressed.

  7. So glad you shared this, when I saw it during the Superbowl I also thought of the gendered aspect it. I think the important point here is that fathers, especially busy NFL fathers, must make time for their kids; in much of the same way mothers must also make time for all of her many jobs. It is about a balancing act for both parents, to make it easier on each individual.

  8. This commercial is great! I enjoy that it took the idea of a (possibly single) father doing his daughters hair and made it a reality. Everyone knows that it happens and that not only women can have that maternal instinct to take care of children. It’s also really great that it was NFL fathers because they are seen as the epitome of a male role, being strong and forceful, and shows their softer sides. This commercial bends the gender roles we have in our society and hopefully this will bleed into other commercials and brands and hopefully all of society will disregard the gender stereotypes of mothers and fathers. Of course that is in an ideal world but if we don’t try to get to that ideal world, then nothing would change.

    Anyway, I loved the commercial and it’s message and I hope we can talk more about it!

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