P&G's AAPI Heritage Month ad asks, what is an 'American' name?

Campaign from R/GA was created by an all-AAPI team and tells the story of a Korean mom and her daughter Yeong Joo

Published On
May 09, 2022

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What would you consider an “American” name? That question is the heart of this moving campaign from P&G, which arrives in time for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Created by an all AAPI team, “The Name” tells the story of a Korean American girl named Yeong Joo [yUHng-ju] Park. It opens in the hospital room, immediately after her birth, where Yeong Joo’s  mom begins to tell her the story of her name. The mother acknowledges that the moniker may end up causing her some grief, as it may lead others to see her as “different.” Yet she assures her daughter that there will also be those who will embrace her. We also see that as Yeong Joo grows older, she will know to speak up for herself when the moment comes. The spot closes as the mother reminds Yeong Joo the meaning of her name, “strong and resilient, which I know you will be,” she says.

According to P&G's release, the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness around the importance of learning and respecting AAPI names as "American" names.

As part of the effort, P&G conducted a survey around the name “Yeong Joo Park” and found that an overwhelming majority, 78% of respondents, did not consider it an "American" name. Rather, they considered Anglo-Saxon names as “American,” suggesting that those without such names may likely experience the sense of being “other.” 

The survey also found that 83% of respondents believed their names were crucial to their own identity, heritage, sense of self and connection to family. Other findings showed that more than half of Americans have experienced their names being mispronounced, regardless of race or ethnicity. 

The integrated push was created out of R/GA. Talents included members of R/GA’s Asian Voices Culture Collective Group, including Global Executive Creative Director Gabriel Siu Hin Cheung [Gae-bri-el Seew-Heen Chung], who is Chinese; Group Executive Creative Director Xavier Teo Por Hsian [Zhāng bó xián], who is Singaporean Hakka Chinese; Creative Director Leah Alfonso [LAY-uh al-FOHN-so], who is Filipino; and Art Director Woohyun Lim [WOO-hee-yhun LIM], who is of Korean descent. On the production side, the director was Goh Iromoto [ GOH ee-roh-MOH-toh ], who is Japanese Canadian; the editor was Sophia Yanjie Lou [so-FEE-uh yian ji-eh lu], who is Chinese; and the executive producer was Sonal Heda [SOH-null HHiy-D-ah], who is Indian Kenyan American.

The campaign also encourages individuals of AAPI descent to continue the conversation with their own stories on social media, using the hashtag “#OurNamesBelong.” P&G has also established partnerships with AAPI community organizations and individuals and introduced educational resources and tools to ensure the efforts go beyond awareness and help to create substantive change.