Secret adds Serena Williams' star power to gender equality push

Secret adds Serena Williams' star power to gender equality push

Dive Brief:

  • Secret, the antiperspirant brand owned by Procter & Gamble, has partnered with tennis star Serena Williams in an effort that aims to promote gender equality programs, the company said in a press statement.

  • The partnership will include several campaigns starring Williams. Additionally, together with Williams, the brand will conduct research on gender bias at different levels of participation in sports, from high school teams to the professional level.

  • As part of the partnership, P&G will donate an additional $1 million to women's and girls' empowerment efforts. Last year, the company donated $529,000 to the United States Women’s National Team Players' Association to help close the wage gap. Additionally, the company bought 9,000 tickets to the National Women's Soccer League games to increase game attendance and revenues.

Dive Insight:

Secret is looking to put some additional star power behind a growing platform around women's empowerment and equal pay, which has seen the P&G brand link consumer-facing marketing with efforts typically reserved for CSR programs. Williams is an iconic figure in sports and partnering with her gives the brand the clout to push a message of female empowerment with "All Strength, No Sweat."

The announcement follows a previous campaign in which P&G, an official sponsor of the United States women's national soccer team (USWNT), ran a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of The New York Times calling for women's equal pay. The marketer wasn't alone in promoting a feminist message around the team's World Cup victory last year, but was the only sponsor to directly call out the issue of pay. 

Beyond sports, Secret has been putting a stronger focus on women's empowerment across its marketing as the demand for meaningful brands grows.

At the Golden Globes, Secret ran an ad featuring celebrity women with an original anthem to promote the "All Strength, No Sweat" digital platform that celebrates active, hard-working women. The effort has also included a social media push in which the P&G brand asked real women to share their stories on Instagram. 

Last year, P&G also announced several women's empowerment partnerships at Cannes.