“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” has been one of the holiday season’s most heartbreaking songs since it was written in 1943 to honor U.S. soldiers separated from their families by World War II.
Thanks to the song’s title and descriptive lyrics about festive decorations, it’s easy to forget the caveat that haunts the end of each chorus: “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.”
One group that’s painfully familiar with the song’s theme of love kept at a distance is the LGBTQ community, with many not feeling safe or welcome when returning home for the holidays.
In a touching reflection on this emotional and complex issue, haircare brand Pantene and agency Grey created a holiday ad that features the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles and the real stories of some of its members. The group sings “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” as individuals and couples prepare themselves emotionally for the journey home.
The ad notes that 44% of LGBTQ people feel they cannot be their true selves when they visit family because their appearance or relationship might not be accepted.
“Inclusion is at the heart of Pantene’s mission to celebrate the beauty of all transformations and of all people,” said Ilaria Resta, North American vp of hair care for Procter & Gamble. “Hearing these LGBTQ individuals speak about the trials and triumphs of going home for the holidays—as well as their irrepressible desire to be their true selves—will inspire others in the community and remind us all what true beauty is about.”
The holiday spot builds on the brand’s “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful” campaign from this year’s Pride Month in June, when Pantene and Grey modernized and reinterpreted a decades-old tagline into a message of LGBTQ support.
In addition to the ad, Pantene will donate $100,000 to the nonprofit Family Equality, which is focused on creating homes that are welcoming to all.
“Family Equality is excited and proud to join Pantene’s inclusive embrace of all family members during the holidays,” said the Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality. “Families of origin, families that are formed and chosen families all have a role to play in the beautiful patchwork of love and acceptance that makes up our LGBTQ+ community.”
The “Going Home for the Holidays” campaign includes interviews with four of the Trans Chorus members featured in the ad:
Creative agency: Grey
Spot Title: I’ll Be Home for Christmas
First Air Date: 12/5/19
Agency: Grey & Townhouse
VP, NA Hair Care: Ilaria Resta
Brand Director: John Brownlee
Global LGBT+ Equality Program Leader: Brent Miller
Brand Manager: Leif Edgar
Brand Manager: Maris Croswell
Assistant Brand Manager: Bret Senior
Senior Communications Manager: Muhammad (Bilal) Lakhani
Chief Creative Officer: John Patroulis
Executive Creative Director: Javier Bonilla
Executive Creative Director: Joe Mongognia
Creative Director: Arturo Macouzet
Associate Creative Director: Bryan Burns
Senior Art Director: Emily Pracher
Executive Producer: Keira Rosenthal
Senior Producer: Kelsey Longo
VP, Music Producer: David Lapinsky
Music Producer: Leland Drake
Global Strategy Director: Julia Perissinoto
EVP, Global Account Director: Anjali Jain
SVP, Account Director: Kate Bernhardt
Account Executive: Samantha Simon
Content Architect: Andrew Pattee
Project Manager: Morgan Marc
VP, Head of Talent: Natasha Howell
Business Manager: Beverly Beach
Anthem Editor: Stacy Peterson
Interview Editor(s): James Donahue + Stacy Peterson
Producer: Hope Duhaime
Managing Director: Lauren Hertzberg
Jogger Senior Producer: Mike Tockman
Lead Flame Artist: Joseph Grosso
Flame Artist: Matthew Dolven
Flame Asst.: Rachel Driver