Olay extends STEM-focused mission in Women’s Equality Day campaign

Dive Brief:

  • Olay is kicking off a campaign designed to continue its mission around getting more women into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), according to an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
  • New creative debuts today, which is Women’s Equality Day, and features four real women who work in STEM fields who each deliver a message coded within scientific formulas or computer programming languages. It was developed with agency Saatchi & Saatchi New York and will appear in print in The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar and Allure.
  • Olay also announced three goals for 2030 around achieving gender parity in STEM education, doubling the number of women working in the industry, and boosting diversity and inclusion by tripling the number of multicultural women in STEM. Within a 10-year, $1 million pledge to support women in the field, the Procter & Gamble-owned brand is giving $520,000 to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

Dive Insight:

Olay’s latest campaign builds on STEM-focused messaging the brand first introduced during the Super Bowl earlier this year. That effort included a new partnership with the nonprofit Girls Who Code and centered around a 30-second commercial starring five famous women, including Katie Couric, Busy Philipps, Lilly Singh, Taraji P. Henson and retired astronaut Nicole Stott.

#FaceTheSTEMGap extends that messaging around women in science introduced by Olay in February. By making a financial commitment to elevate underrepresented groups in a historically male-dominated industry, the P&G beauty brand is taking concrete steps that align with its longstanding efforts to promote female empowerment through marketing.

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The campaign’s debut is timely in arriving on Women’s Equality Day. This may link the brand with online chatter around the day of recognition, while the hashtag could extend the campaign’s social media presence and organically reach more of Olay’s target audience of women who are interested in learning about and overcoming inequalities in science-driven industries.

A wave of brands has shifted to similar cause-related efforts since the coronavirus pandemic hit this spring. McDonald’s Brazil, Planters and others have received backlash from consumers who perceived the ads as ill-timed, insincere or empty without providing tangible support. Some, however, have struck the right tone by backing up ads with donations and new initiatives. KitchenAid this week unveiled a 30-minute documentary on Hulu to spotlight women in the restaurant industry, as well as nonprofit partnerships designed to advance the careers of women in the sector and provide relief to restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

Beyond the new creative for Women’s Equality Day, Olay is making strides toward longer-term change in women’s empowerment by using role models — not professional models — in the ads. The move, which follows efforts by Dove and CVS Pharmacy to use more realistic depictions of women in ads, could deepen connections with key consumers on several levels.

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