A couple of months ago I got my first Oculus and *really* got into Beat Saber. And while I still do enjoy the occasional VR gaming experience, lately I’ve become even more aware of and excited about the opportunities the Metaverse has to offer beyond gaming (Also in healthcare! More on that soon!) and I was quite intrigued when I saw the announcement about Procter & Gamble’s LifeLab, a VR-based brand universe, which the company premiered at CES earlier this year.
P&G LifeLab is essentially a VR-based product & education showcase with some gamification elements that Procter & Gamble put together to present their products in an innovative way at CES and beyond. Nothing super groundbreaking, but we’re in the early days of VR and I love to see brands who experiment to explore how they can best leverage new technologies to serve their customers in the best possible way. So thumbs up for that. So far so good.
Of course I had to check it out and the first thing I watched was the “P&G LifeLabs Highlights Video from CES”. 👇
Now call me crazy, and maybe it’s just me, but the fact that a male avatar was used throughout the entire video really bothered me. For one because I myself identify as a woman and want to see myself represented, but also because a company like P&G, that counts a lot of women as their customers should want this large group represented in any and all marketing material and communication they put out. P&G should know and do better. And I’m sorry to say, but on this one they missed the mark.
To add insult to injury the same P&G @ CES press kit also contained a video of P&G’s Chief Communications Officer Damon Jones, who discussed “how (P&G’s) approach to innovation is founded in equality and inclusion” and explained the company’s efforts to “drive more inclusion in front of and behind the camera.”
Our approach to innovation is founded in equality and inclusion, recognizing that when our own people feel seen, heard and valued they bring new ideas that transform experiences for consumers often left in the margins. This means better insights and ultimately better solutions, blending technology and the best of human insights.
Yes. All true. I agree. Representation matters. In real life, on the internet and in VR. Everywhere. And most importantly it matters all the time, not just when the camera is on. What matters more than what we say in fancy D&I videos, is what we do, what we create, and how we communicate every day when we think noone is watching. Because this is when the real work gets done and the decisions that shape our ecosystem and society are taken.
As innovators we now have a pretty unique opportunity to thoughtfully design this brave new world, the metaverse, in hopes that we don’t make the same mistakes, that have turned the web in its current form into an unwelcoming and scary place for too many from underrepresented groups. And the truth is that we need partners like P&G to step up, acknowledge their role and contribute to the effort. Market leaders have responsibility and what they put out into the world matters because of their influence and reach.
My hope is that this post can remind all of us (including us here at Femtech Insider) that representation matters, and that we have a responsibility to show up every day and to do the work that will eventually move the needle and help create the better, more inclusive (virtual) world we all need and deserve.
P&G, let’s make it happen. And if you need any help, hit us up! 😉✌️