- Secret, the antiperspirant brand owned by Procter & Gamble, is hosting a directory of women-owned businesses on its Instagram page throughout December, according to a company announcement. The directory includes 100 merchants across 10 major U.S. cities.
- The effort intends to help women-owned businesses score a fair share of the $730 billion forecast by the National Retail Federation to be spent around the holidays this year, along with calling attention to "Women-Owned Wednesdays" — a weekly promotion steering consumers toward female-led enterprises. Forty percent of all businesses in the U.S. are run by women, according to statistics cited by Sara Saunders, associate brand director of Secret. Messaging attached to the new Secret campaign suggests women-owned businesses will command just 5% of holiday revenue.
- To encourage online purchases, Secret is running shoppable videos that link viewers to women-owned businesses from P&G's hometown of Cincinnati. The directory highlights businesses in additional cities like Philadelphia, Dallas and Atlanta in a pinned post on Secret's Instagram Stories.
Secret is attempting to leverage its large platform and degree of consumer recognition to drive awareness to female business owners around a busy, truncated holiday season. The campaign taps into emerging mobile tactics, such as Instagram Stories and shoppable videos, to extend the P&G marketer's message of furthering gender equality.
The push is another indication that marketers are eyeing mobile- and social-driven commerce as an increasingly important channel for engaging consumers around the holidays and beyond. Platforms including Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest have ramped up their e-commerce offerings to meet this demand and keep users within their apps as they browse and buy products. Like Secret, Pinterest has recently propped up smaller merchants, opening a curated @PinterestShop marketplace for emerging small businesses last week.
Equity has continued to be a focus in Secret's marketing as P&G has broadly tried to center more of its brands around purpose. As part of its sponsorship of the U.S. women's national soccer team (USWNT) that secured a World Cup victory earlier this summer, Secret ran ads pressuring U.S. Soccer, the sport's governing body in the states, to offer female athletes equal pay. While other USWNT sponsors like Nike emphasized women's empowerment in their messaging, Secret was alone in directly calling out pay as a key issue.
Brands wading into discussions around contentious issues like gender equality has grown more popular, even as the strategy risks prompting backlash or consumer boycotts. P&G has helped to lead the charge on purpose-oriented marketing, and most of its core brands have posted strong performance despite some controversial campaigns.
The packaged goods company beat analysts' estimates on the top and bottom lines in Q1 2020 earnings reported in October, with marketing cited as an area of strength, according to CNBC.