Imagine you’re one of the best college basketball players in the country. You set school records left and right, and you’re about to be a top-three pick in the WNBA draft. You’re on top of the world until you see your rookie deal is $40,000 — 100-times less than your NBA counterpart.
Wealthsimple and Skylar Diggins-Smith of the WNBA's Dallas Wings partnered on a campaign to highlight this massive pay gap between men and women in American professional basketball.
The spot features a young boy and a young girl who will grow up to be Diggins-Smith sharing nearly identical on-court accomplishments to the camera. Both predict that they’ll be first-round picks in their respective leagues, but that’s where the similarities end and the pay inequity kicks in.
Mike Giepert, Wealthsimple’s executive creative director, said Diggins-Smith’s call to action is a natural fit with his company’s mission of educating people on the importance of wealth management.
“[Diggins-Smith’s] rookie year contract is 100-times less than an average top-10 NBA draft pick. It just seemed a little bit crazy to us. Through talking with her and interviewing her, we found out that a lot of the WNBA players don't really have this expectation that the money is going to last forever,” said Giepert.
“She says actually a lot of women in the WNBA invest and they run small businesses. Their college degree is so much more important to them because they know the money isn't going to last forever. It seemed like a good alignment for what we were going for: to get more women to invest and also to say that in the WNBA there is this pay gap, but investing is one way that you can make up that pay gap.”
Giepert added that a lot of investment companies gear their ads more toward men, and this was an opportunity for Wealthsimple to share a balanced and equal message.
“It's something that should start the conversation or help keep moving it forward because Skylar's been a big proponent of this for a long time. We're just helping her get the message out there,” said Giepert.
The minute-long ad will run online, on social, and on TV during NBA games. Giepert said there hasn’t been much negative feedback in response to the commercial, though “you expect the internet trolls to come out in full force” when a spot like this is released.