Sorry Not Sorry. Pantene Wants Women To Stop Apologizing!


“Strong is beautiful”.  That is the message coming from Pantene these days, and it is directed at women all over the world. Following on from the success of their ‘Labels Against Women‘ viral video, which racked up over 46 million views on Youtube showing a series of simultaneous workplace situations where women were labeled negatively, while men were praised.

They are upping the ante and now urging women to stop apologizing. And they’re right. Too often we say “I’m sorry” in our everyday conversations, and it becomes a bigger problem when we start to apologize for who we are to please others.

“We used market research to look at what gender norms were holding women back and tried to tap into the most relevant and insightful areas,” Kevin Crociata, marketing director of North American Hair Care business, told AdWeek. “This problem of saying sorry, it wasn’t just something women in the U.S. were facing but globally. After the success of the first campaign, Shine Strong is something we’re committed to as a brand.”

And saying sorry too much is not just a workplace problem, it affects us in a myriad of situations in our daily lives. Why do we do it? Do men apologize as often as we do?

In the video we see women in a variety of situations where the first words that come out of their mouths in a conversation is “Sorry, but..”. The second half of the video sees the same women in the same scenario, sans apology. The result is a strong, confident women, and the message is that this is how all women should approach every day life. Without apologies.

“Women have more connectivity between the left brain and the right brain and because of that we’re more emotional and more sensitive to how other people are feeling,” Tonya Reiman, author of ‘The Power of Body Language’,” told ABC News. “Therefore we feel like we need to apologize for everything.

“If women can delete the apology and just go forth with their statement, they’ll come across as much more powerful,” she added.


Pantene are committed to changing the gender norms for women, and are in good company. Dove is well known for their powerful campaigns dedicated to improving women’s self esteem and allowing them to celebrate their individuality. It is a tactic that has worked well for the beauty brand, as their ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ video is the most watched advertising video on Youtube ever, with over 3.8 million views.

According to Adweek, Pantene is also launching the Shine Strong Fund, which seeks to educate and enable women to overcome bias and societal expectations as well as celebrate strong women. The fund is collaborating with the American Association of University Women helping college women have access to influential leaders. They will do this in three ways: by offering college grants, providing training programs, and giving back to the community.

“Pantene’s commitment to raising awareness about unconscious bias and stereotypes is a perfect link with AAUW’s core mission,” said AAUW Executive Director and CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “We look forward to further exploring these important topics and seeing how our student members bring the conversations to life within campuses and communities across the country.”

“We believe the message of the “Not Sorry” video will resonate with women, encouraging them to be more aware of this diminishing behavior and, in turn, prevent any bias they may be unconsciously creating,”says Colleen Jay, President, P&G Global Hair Care & Color (who own Pantene).

It is a brilliant campaign utilizing the language of millennials: social media. Using the hashtags #sorrynotsorry, which is already ridiculously popular, and #shinestrong, everyday women are able to offer their voice to the conversation, and be part of a worldwide campaign to stop women from holding back in fear.


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