Secret “stress test” video tackles gender wage gap

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This smart online video campaign for P&G’s Secret Deodorant connects 'stress sweat' to generational struggles by addressing the gender pay gap.

Case study summary

• Deodorant brand seeks emotional connection with consumers by looking at generational issues

• Video ad series looks at modern women in stressful situations

• Ads got over 8 million YouTube views in total

The challenge

Procter & Gamble's Secret deodorant wanted to make an emotional connection with consumers by looking at larger, generational reasons why young women sweat—often because of political, gender-based struggles—and not just their more random individual reasons.
"The team approached this campaign thinking about what it means to be a young woman right now," said W&K Portland CD Justine Armour. "What are women still not really 'allowed' to do? What are the barriers they're still up against? What roles and situations still make them feel uncomfortable? These are the areas where they're really feeling the stress, and where Secret is going to step up for them in a way that other deodorants can't."
The solution
The campaign, created by Wieden + Kennedy begins with the 60-second spot below, titled "Raise." The plot is simple: A young professional woman is psyching herself up in the bathroom at work to ask her boss for more money.

After she agonizes in solitude over what she's going to say before the mirror in the ladies room, she gets a surprise pep talk from an older female colleague who unbeknownst to her, had been in a stall listening to her the whole time. An on-screen caption informs the viewer: "At 3 o'clock, Lucy does her part to close the wage gap."

Another ad shows a woman sending a text message to say "I love you" and waiting in suspense for the response as she sees the recipient typing away. "Say it first even if the response might ruin your life," says the caption. The spots were directed by Irish director Aoife McArdle of Somesuch/Anonymous Content.


The results

The ‘Three Dots video garnered an impressive 7 million view on YouTube, while the ‘Stress Test’ video attracted a further 1.5 million Views.

The ads promote Secret's "Clinical Strength" formula, and hinge on the insight that stress actually leads to a particular, harder-to-fight type of perspiration. "Secret was the first antiperspirant brand made specifically for a woman's needs," said Janine Miletic, brand director, North America Deodorants at P&G. "We developed product technology designed specifically to fight stress sweat, which is more unpredictable and worse-smelling than normal sweat."
"Secret has a 60-year history of bringing to life women's evolving role in society through its advertising," said Miletic. "The brand's latest campaign continues to show how women are pushing the boundaries and redefining their role in society. We understand the stress that comes with challenging cultural norms and are committed to providing women with high quality products that can stand up to today's stressors -- big and small."

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