Olay’s pitch for a purpose: a $1m pledge to tackle STEM gender inequality

If your brand must have a purpose, then advancing women in STEM seems like a good option, and Olay is doing its best to show long-term commitment to the cause.

Olay, owned by Procter & Gamble, has launched the latest phase of it drive to get more women to study science, technology, engineering and maths, with its new #FacetheSTEMgap campaign.

Apparently, only 24 per cent of STEM jobs are held by women, and Olay want to make it 50 per cent by 2030, which is a pretty lofty ambition, and not one they are likely to be held to account for. But they are making a start by donating $1 million, including a $500k donation to the United Negro College Fund.

Plenty of role models are showcased in Olay’s campaign, which comes at a time when Covid has helped level the playing field a little: plenty of female (as well as male) scientific experts have come into the spotlight during the pandemic, and Professor Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the Oxford vaccine, was looking like she was might save the world at one point.

For a brand’s purpose to work over the long term, it needs to find regular new, creative ways to bring it to life, as P&G has done with Pampers, and Unilever with Dove’s Real Beauty. Olay started off with a Super Bowl ad back in January that was all about female astronauts, complete with a #MakeSpaceForWomen hashtag, but it must keep up the momentum.

It’s just a shame that Olay is still promoting its Olay for Men range with a tagline that has a whiff of toxic masculinity: “Work hard. Moisturize harder.”

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