The Bachelorette is a show with notoriously pretzel-like gender dynamics.
On the one hand, the ABC dating program puts a woman in total control of the traditionally patriarchal dating structure—and undercuts the notion that promiscuity in men is admirable while in women it is shameful. (These feminist undertones, while perhaps accidental, do seem to take some of the guilt out of this guilty pleasure for some women.) On the other hand, each season is explicitly orchestrated to culminate with one of the culture's most conventional and one-sided relationship rituals.
That backdrop, it turns out, was an inspired one for the first showing of Wieden + Kennedy's latest commercial for Secret deodorant. The spot aired during The Bachelorette's season premiere last night—and also had plenty to say, in strong and stylish fashion, about gender dynamics today:
This is the second round of W+K work for the Procter & Gamble brand to deal with so-called "stress sweat," which P&G says is biologically different than physically induced sweat. The first spots, back in April, dealt with one culturally weighty topic—the wage gap—as well as a more personal one—saying "I love you" over text message.
This new spot, "The Question," is the best one yet.
Like the previous "Raise" spot, it was directed by Aoife McArdle. It's a sly mix of comedy and tension, with great casting and subtle acting that really lets the scenario build nicely. When the reveal happens—even if you see it coming—it feels believable, and like a breakthrough, because of the obvious stress of the situation. Which by the way makes for a fine connection to the brand, even if inverting gender roles to sell product can still feel icky, however pure the motive.
Now, the more important question: Does the guy say yes?
Client: Procter & Gamble/Secret
Project: Secret Stress-Tested for Women
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Justine Armour, Caio Lazzuri
Art Director: Johan Arlig
Copywriter: Brooke Barker
Producer: Jessica Staples
Strategic Planning: Angela Jones
Media/Comms Planning: Stephanie Ehui
Account Team: Dana Borenstein / Alexina Shaber
Production Company: Somesuch/Anonymous Content
Director: Aoife McArdle
Executive Producer: SueEllen Clair / Eric Stern
Executive Producer Somesuch: Sally Campbell / Tim Nash
Producer: Christopher Gallagher
Director of Photography: Alexis Zabe
Editorial Company: Final Cut
Editor: Paul Zucker
Assistant Editor: Betty Jo Moore [Editor on 'Three Dots']
Exec Post Producer: Eric McCasline
Head of Production: Suzy Ramirez
Producer: Sarita White
VFX Company: MPC Los Angeles
Exec Producer: Elexis Stern
Shoot Supervisor: Ben Persons
Colourist: Mark Gethin
VFX Lead: Susanne Scharping
VFX: Sandra Ross / Vincent Blin / Warren Paleos
Designer: Kathleen Kirkman
Music Company: Marmoset
Composers: 'Proposal' by Will Canzoneri / 'Raise' by Jeffrey Brodsky / 'Three Dots' by Kerry Smith
Producer: Tim Shrout
Sound Design Company: Barking Owl
Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi
Exec Producer: Kelly Bayett
Mix Company: Lime Studios
Mixer: Sam Casas