The intersection between identity and culture is rarely more pronounced than when a person decides to come out to their loved ones. In a new campaign, Oreo, PFLAG, agency 360i and director Alice Wu (The Half Of It) tells one touching story about coming out through a deeply communal lens.
The brand continues its longstanding relationship with PFLAG in a new short film titled “The Note.” At 2.5 minutes long, the powerful film marks the beginning of the partnership’s “#LifelongAlly” campaign, which aims to encourage the next generation of active, vocal supporters of the LGBTQ+ community.
The story features a young Chinese American man who is anxiously preparing to come out to his extended family with the aid of a handwritten note—written in Mandarin and English— and his surrounding immediate family, who is helping him rehearse the impending moment.
“When we came up with the story of a coming out ‘rehearsal,’ it felt like a novel way to show the lengths an ally would go to show their support,” said Devon Hong, ecd at 360i and the film’s co-author, in a statement. “But it wasn’t until we made it a multigenerational immigrant story that the story came alive.”
As the man continues to practice the words he’ll eventually speak to his potentially disapproving grandmother, we also see his mother’s visible nerves. But her own trepidation toward the situation doesn’t hinder her from being a source of support for her son. Before greeting their incoming family, she sends a note of her own to the young man which reads, “She might be my mother, but you are my son.”
With “The Note,” the brand and PFLAG wants to encourages a culture of emphatic, unconditional support.
“Through this film and campaign, we hope to build on the allyship narrative we’ve developed with PFLAG National by bringing attention to the importance of lifelong allyship,” said Olympia Portale, Oreo’s senior brand manager, in a statement. “Consistent, ongoing support and public acceptance are a crucial part of being an active ally.”
In addition to the film, Oreo will donate $500,000 to PFLAG in support of the organization’s mission toward education and advocacy.
Creative allyship in action
It isn’t enough to preach about allyship; you have to actively demonstrate it. For director Wu, whose work often blends sexual identity and culture, it was important that the brand grant her the space to tell a story that encompassed the totality of her vision.
“When Oreo first approached me about this project, I came up with a vision that I honestly did not expect them to go for,” she said in a statement, referencing the story’s all-Asian cast and heavy use of Mandarin. “But not only did they get on board, they have been tremendously supportive of me maintaining an authentic voice.”
The film also shows the brands willingness to recognize the validity of community-specific experiences.
Said Wu, “In their trying to be an ally to the queer community, they also turned out to be an ally to me, a queer Asian filmmaker.”
The culture of progressive storytelling
Months before Pride, more brands are exploring how culture impacts queer expression in order to tell different stories within their purpose-led marketing. Companies like Pantene and Doritos, for instance, have told resonant tales about gender identity and same-sex love against the backdrop of Mexican culture, indicating a concerted push to change societal perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community. Polaroid also joined this wave by delving into Black queer stories with its recent partnership with the digital platform My Black Queerness, My Queer Blackness.
“The Note” joins the influx of these narratives with a unique point-of-view that speaks specifically of a relatable Asian American experience. In fact, the storyline is loosely based on Hong’s own coming out moment with his mother.
“‘The Note’ isn’t a story about a young man coming out. It’s about a mother caught between two generations and choosing to stand by her son. A theme that my own mother struggled with,” Hong said. “I’m so fortunate to be able to tell this deeply personal story and I hope it encourages more allies to go to bat for their LGBTQ+ loved ones.”
This article first appeared in www.adweek.com
Seeking to build and grow your brand using the force of consumer insight, strategic foresight, creative disruption and technology prowess? Talk to us at +971 50 6254340 or email@example.com or visit www.groupisd.com/story