File this one under 'the direct approach,' leavened with a hint of awkward. Young Minds for Gender Equality Foundation (YM4GE) and DDB New York have launched an intentionally bizarre online social campaign in an effort to raise awareness and encourage direct action about the gender pay gap.
The work is a series of offbeat, humorous videos, social posts and a website selling the fictional “The Business Bulge” product, intended to give women additional girth in order to get pay equal to their male colleagues. “A bulge in your pants means a bulge in your wallet,” is the “triumphant” summation in one of the videos, “Get Paid Like A Man,” presented by fictional character Clark Hoffman. On a more serious note, Hoffman lays out the facts about wage equality (including the US being #65 in the world) in another video that lives on getabulge.com.
Gerardo Porteny Backal, a 21-year-old entrepreneur and social innovator, who co-founded and now serves as president of YM4GE is optimistic about the approach and collaboration with the agency.
“YM4GE’s goal is to empower millennials to turn their ideas into action, and harness real world solutions for women empowerment and the achievement of gender equality,” said Porteny. “We are so excited DDB was able to create a campaign that flips the status quo – in a way that is culturally relevant and resonates with our audience using a language they understand.”
It is DDB New York’s first effort for the new pro bono account — and the videos were produced by Hank Perlman, the award-winning director who created one of ESPN’s most successful and influential campaign – “This is SportsCenter.”
“It’s a ridiculous solution to a ridiculous problem, and that’s what we want to convey,” said Icaro Doria, chief creative officer of DDB New York. “We are inspired by YM4GE’s vision to empower both young women and young men equally to become the leaders of today. The goal of this campaign is to generate more conversation around pay equality for women in the workforce, help consumers learn more about the problem and find ways to tackle it.”
On the website, people also can get super-direct, by entering a boss’ (or chief executive's) email address — and the organization will email information on closing the wage gap directly to them. YM4GE assures end users that they won’t get busted out for getting the issue on their leadership’s radar:
There’s no way it will get tracked back to you, and this is one easy step you can take to affect change in your organization, and hopefully beyond.
This project is continued advocacy from Porteny, who previously served as a consultant for global youth engagement at UN Women’s HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality, started his first foundation when he was 16 years old and since then has advocated for gender equality in numerous public speaking presentations, from TEDx talks in London and Barcelona to panels in the Youth Assembly at the United Nations in New York.