Procter & Gamble Co.’s Secret has signed a deal with Serena Williams around the brand’s gender-equality work, putting an additional $1 million behind an effort to which the brand donated $1 million in the past year.
As part of the partnership, announced Tuesday at the Maker’s Conference in Los Angeles, Williams will appear in ads for Secret’s “All Strength No Sweat” campaign breaking next month. The brand handles creative in-house.
Williams and Secret are starting by launching a study to look at how gender bias surfaces in sports from high school to professional levels.
“We’re going to take those learnings and identify the key opportunities for how we—Serena and Secret—are going to spend the next $1 million,” says Sara Saunders, associate brand director for Secret. “We really want to understand things from the women themselves who are living it. The key reason we wanted to sign Serena is that she has the insight into equality and bias on a much deeper level because of the career that she’s had.”
“It’s very important to me that I use my platform to bring attention to the many issues faced by women in sports and to call for meaningful change,” Williams said in a statement. “The Secret brand has been answering that very call for years by taking real action to support female athletes. Sports changed my life and I feel compelled to continue giving back to ensure a brighter future for partnership closely to further the fight for gender equality for all athletes.”
Secret has made gender equality in sports a centerpiece of its marketing the past year, including a $529,000 donation to the U.S. Women’s National Team Player’s Association to help close the gender pay gap in soccer. The brand also bought and distributed more than 9,000 tickets to National Women’s Soccer League games to boost attendance and revenues, committed to support the Girls Leading Girls organization and publicly backed soccer star Carli Lloyd’s NFL ambitions, an effort that helped inspire a Super Bowl pre-game ad starring Lloyd and teammate Crystal Dunn.
Saunders cited Williams’ 23 Grand Slam titles and four Olympic gold medals, adding: “We know from a personal side that she’s a dedicated sister, daughter and mother. We just felt that she was a really well-rounded champion who really fit well with our brand.”