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The Secret Kicker – Procter & Gamble & the NFL

Procter & Gamble deodorant brand Secret kicked off conversation about women in sport with a Super Bowl LIV ad spot involving US women’s soccer superstar Carli Lloyd.

P&G’s deal with the NFL covers marketing rights in the grooming, fabric/air care and household goods categories, which it activates for several brands including Gillette, Febreze, Vicks, Head & Shoulders, Old Spice and Secret.

Territory: USA

Agency: In-house

Other organisations: Mills James (production)


After brand research found more than two-thirds of American girls believe society doesn’t encourage women to play sports, P&G decided to leverage its rights on behalf of deodorant brand Secret to start a conversation about equality in sport in general and football in particular.

According to Secret associate brand director Sara Saunders, the objective for its Super Bowl was to seek to challenge and change this notion by spotlighting world-class female athletes on a field where gender equality is not yet the norm.

“Whether or not a woman wants to play football, shouldn’t she at least be able to consider it a possibility?” explained Saunders. “We believe that there are some things women shouldn’t have to sweat – and equal opportunity is one of them.”

The activation fit into the brand’s long-term buffing of its feminist image, which has used sports-led campaigns like the ‘Equality’ campaign and ‘Cheer for Each Other’ initiative, both fronted by Lloyd’s USWNT teammate Alex Morgan. The NFL’s fanbase is about 47 per cent female


The activation, created by Secret’s in-house team and produced by Mills James, was spearheaded by a Super Bowl spot called The Secret Kicker.

The commercial debuted on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and was posted online when Secret launched its first YouTube Masthead on 28 January 2020. On game day (2 February 2020) it aired during the official ESPN Super Bowl Pregame Show, just 10 minutes before kick-off.

Starring US soccer players Lloyd and Crystal Dunn, Secret’s spot starts with an average football game day scene – a full stadium, passionate supporters, players moving to the line of scrimmage before a crucial kick – before taking a surprising turn when, following a successful kick, the kicker and holder are revealed as Lloyd and Dunn. The stadium goes crazy and the brand issues a call-to-action: ‘Let’s Kick Inequality’.

Lloyd had previously demonstrated her real-life place-kicking ability by nailing a 55-yard field goal during a 2019 pre-season practice session with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Secret supported the sport by using a group of celebrities, athletes and influencers to push the message and its #KickInequality tag.


ESPN’s pregame show had an average audience of 21.6 million viewers and, as the secret spot aired during the final commercial break, viewership is likely to have been above average.

Key social media metrics since the spot was posted on January 27 include:

  • 19 million YouTube views on Secret’s channel
  • Three million views on Secrets Twitter feed
  • 1.4 million Facebook views through the Ellen DeGeneres Show partnership

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