Last week, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) made world history in becoming the first team to win four Women’s World Cup titles. Yet, even as the team battled for the Cup on the field, they also fought for equal pay off the field – and the win only raised awareness and increased conversation around the pay disparity between female and male players. Now, a major brand is stepping in to support, lending its marketing platform and dollars to the cause.
This week, Procter & Gamble (P&G) brand Secret Deodorant took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to show its support of the USWNT fight for equal pay. The ad applauds the team’s historic victory while also bringing awareness to the pay disparity by using the number 23 to represent the number of players on a championship soccer team, but also the pairs of chromosomes in one human – whether male or female. Secret then goes on to say it will “give 23 a new meaning” by doing their part to close the pay gap. The brand announced it would give the Players Association over half a million dollars ($529,000) – the equivalent of $23,000 for each of the 23 players. The ad closes by urging the U.S. Soccer Federation to end gender pay inequality “once and for all.” The announcement ladders up to the P&G’s #WeSeeEqual campaign, to advocate for gender equality across all P&G properties, and Secret’s 2018 “I’d Rather Get Paid” campaign highlighting the 20 percent difference between female and male pay.
As America celebrated the USWNT win, Secret helped bring to life the very real disparity between male and female players through its massive donation. And although the donation helps to assuage the current situation, perhaps more important was the brand’s use of its marketing machine to call on the U.S. Soccer Federation to fix the gap for good. Here we see how a brand can take a stand and demand systematic change for a cause that is very clearly in alignment with its values.