The Secret’s Out

Ad Age: Procter & Gamble Co.’s Secret antiperspirant may be strong enough for a man, but it’s made for a woman race-car driver -– specifically 23-year-old Indy Racing League phenom Danica Patrick, who is becoming a pitchwoman for the leading U.S. women’s deodorant.
In a deal announced today, the 2005 Indy 500 rookie of the year will bear the Secret logo and appear in still unspecified marketing efforts for the brand, likely to include TV and print ads. It’s the first marketing deal in memory between an Indy Racing League driver and a woman’s personal-care brand and also a first for Ms. Patrick, who heretofore has shunned beauty or personal-care endorsements.
“Danica really embodies the brand character of secret, which is a strong-yet-feminine woman,” a P&G spokeswoman said. “Her individuality, her persistence -– really she embodies several qualities of what the Secret brand represents.”
It doesn’t hurt, she added, that Ms. Patrick performs in a sweaty, high-risk sport where she not only competes against men but also beats them. Secret two years ago modified its longtime selling line, “Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman,” to simply “Strong enough for a woman.”
Ms. Patrick finished fourth at the Indy 500 in May and led the race for 19 laps. Before that, she was turning heads with her looks, having posed scantily clad two years ago in FHM. After catching some flack for that layout, Ms. Patrick has chosen endorsement deals carefully and avoided, up to now, linking up with beauty brands.
p.s. We reported last July on Danica’s endoresement deal with PEAK Antifreeze and Mr. Clean windshield wash and wiper blades.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.