I’m safest in quiet one-waymeetings, sitting like a spider at the center of a web, watching it tremble. To rest in the papasan chair and
have the world widen to dream is to be blurred
as a baby watching her mother clink in the kitchen, background whispers of
belonging soothing a system. Unreal, it seems now,
the flock of sheep in the train window, first glimpse of Pennsylvania after breaking down in New York.
A 60-second film called “Lead with Love,” the centerpiece of a major campaign focused on P&G’s commitment to making the world a better place in 2021.
Lead with Love” begins by referencing Plutchik’s eight primary human emotions. For those of us who didn’t realize such a list existed, they are Joy, Sadness, Fear, Excitement, Anger, Disgust, Surprise, and Love. Babies and young children play a starring role, and the soundtrack is a heartstring-plucking rendition of The Cranberries hit Dreams. After walking us through images of children experiencing a range of emotions, the film urges us to “lead with love,” paying off the concept with a promise from P&G to commit “2,021 acts of good for our communities, for equality and for the planet” this coming year.
The first time I saw this campaign, I took it at face value, and I’ll admit I was a bit underwhelmed. “Lead with Love” is a great tagline, and the film, as with nearly everything the company does in longer form advertising, is flawlessly executed. But at first blush it lacked the emotional power of some of P&G’s earlier work. If you haven’t watched “The Best Men Can Be,” which confronts toxic masculinity, “The Look” or “The Talk,” which take on racism, or “Thank You Mom,” which makes me tear up every single time I see it, you really should.
Here’s where you can learn more about the people and ideas in this episode:
- Stella Adler (deceased), actor, teacher, and founder of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.
- Konstantin Stanislavski(deceased), actor, director, and creator of “Stanislavski’s system.”
- Katherine K. “Kay” Merseth, senior lecturer on education and director of the Teacher Education Program at Harvard University.
- Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University.
- Ayelet Fishbach, professor of behavioral science and marketing at the University of Chicago.
- Katy Milkman, professor of behavioral science at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Oscar Wilde (deceased), author.
- Reid Hoffman, entrepreneur and co-founder of LinkedIn.
- Dana Suskind, professor of surgery at the University of Chicago.
- James J. Heckman, professor of economics at the University of Chicago.
- Mart Laar, former prime minister of Estonia.
- Milton Friedman (deceased), professor of economics at the University of Chicago.
- Margaret Thatcher (deceased), former prime minister of the United Kingdom.
- Alan E. Kazdin, professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University.
- Lev Vygotsky (deceased), sociocultural psychologist.
- “What Is the Zone of Proximal Development?” by Kendra Cherry (Verywell Mind, 2021).
- “See How U.S. Fourth- and Eighth-Grade Students Performed in Mathematics” (The Nation’s Report Card, 2020).
- “Employment, Starting Salaries, and Educational Indebtedness of Year-2019 Graduates of US Veterinary Medical Colleges,” by Bridgette Bain (Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2020).
- “Many Americans Say They Liked Math and Science in School, Thought About a STEM Career,” by Cary Funk and Kim Parker (The Pew Research Center, 2018).
- “Dear Abby: Should I Give Advice or Receive It?” by Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, Ayelet Fishbach, and Angela L. Duckworth (Psychological Science, 2018).
- “An Analysis of the Memphis Nurse-Family Partnership Program,” by James J. Heckman, Margaret L. Holland, Kevin K. Makino, Rodrigo Pinto, and Maria Rosales-Rueda (NBER Working Series, 2017).
- “The Art of Giving and Receiving Advice,” by David A. Garvin and Joshua D. Margolis (Harvard Business Review, 2018).
- The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, by Lee Kuan Yew (1998).
- “Long-Term Effects of Home Visitation on Maternal Life Course and Child Abuse and Neglect. Fifteen-Year Follow-Up of a Randomized Trial,” by D. L. Olds, J. Eckenrode, C. R. Henderson Jr., H. Kitzman, J. Powers, R. Cole, K. Sidora, P. Morris, L. M. Pettitt, and D. Luckey (JAMA, 1997).
- Tools of the Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education, by Elena Bodrova and Deborah J. Leong (1996).
- Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman (1962).
- “What Would the World Look Like if Economists Were in Charge? (Ep. 3),” by Freakonomics Radio(2010).
- Everyday Parenting: The ABCs of Child Rearing, Yale University online course.
- Nurse-Family Partnership.