Prologue In April 2004 Conill and the Tide US Hispanic team embarked on a journey to dismantle the stereotypes and assumptions that had for so long defined the way we portrayed Hispanic women in our advertising and set out to discover her all over again. We had tons of quantitative information about her and her habits in laundry, but we had lost the intimacy of knowledge to understand where we needed to go for campaign evolution. So our mission was to unveil a fresh portrait of the Hispanic woman to fuel ideas for Tide's \"More than Clothes\" campaign in the US Hispanic Market. This journey became known as Project Immersion.
Part One: Project Immersion We sat with Hispanic women across the US, and for two weeks we listened. Listened to their stories of joy and sorrow. Listened as they confessed their desires and their regrets. Listened as they shared their own American dreams. We heard from Adisbelly, a dentist struggling to become a professional in this country; From Martha, a grateful cross-guard who became a US resident when she won the lottery visa. From Flor, a foster mother who took care of abused children because she believed that a little love could go a long way. And like them, we heard from so many more that left a little mark - a little piece to remind us of their many layers.
Part Two: Raising the Curtain The time came to share the learning from Project Immersion with the Tide team and the rest of Procter & Gamble's Hispanic division in Puerto Rico (+100 people), and I was responsible for putting together the presentation, a feat I took to heart and with great respect for the women who had trusted us with their stories. As I thought of ways to share the learning I realized that the experience of listening to them first hand was so much more compelling than all the research we had gathered. They had moved us in so many ways and I wanted others to learn from them the same way. I needed a certain magic that I couldn't concoct with a Power Point Presentation. So, I resorted to a medium that's close to my heart: the theatre.
I was inspired by social artists like Eve Ensler (Vagina Monologues, What I Want My Words to Do to You) and Anna Deveare Smith (Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992), two playwrights whose work are often born from the people they interview. Regardless of the issues they present, they always manage to invite people in and open a dialogue. And most importantly, they fracture the images that we have in our heads and leave us with more questions than answers. This was exactly the reaction we were aiming for with Project Immersion, and only an actor willing to put herself in our women's shoes could give our client and our creative team a more vicarious experience into the lives of Hispanic women. A piece of them.
And so began Pieces of Me, a play in three acts based on our interviews.
I shared my plan with the Planning and Account Directors involved in this project, Wanda Pogue and Andrea Diquez, and in less than three weeks we managed to sell the idea to the client, find a playwright and three actors, perform the play and film the piece successfully.
Part Three: Pieces of Me The play consists of three acts. The first act, The Faces We Know, represents the stereotypical Hispanic woman that we often portray in our advertising: the child-centric mother, the traditionalist who is reluctant to change, and the woman with little education who has a hard time understanding everything. In the second act, Unveiling the Layers Beneath, we bring to life the spectrum of human experiences that make up this multi-dimensional woman through monologues and scenes that reflect her real persona. And finally we ground the implications of our learning in the third act, Beginning a Dialogue, which offers some answers to the questions we pose ourselves everyday: How should we talk to her? How do we motivate her? How can we get her to look at our brands over others? What is the way to her heart?
For the presentation in Puerto Rico I was very keen on taking our client and our creative team on a theatrical journey that would engross them in the stories they were about to hear. To set the mood we invited our audience to a real theatre where they were greeted, ushered to their seats and handed a playbill. Soon after, the lights went out and the show began.
Judge's Comments \"The play was a really neat idea and clearly had a role in enhancing client understanding of the people they talk to. This is definitely an inspirational and innovative idea that potentially may reap rewards.\" - Catrina McAuliffe