Procter & Gamble is putting its marketing muscle behind a partnership with actor Reese Witherspoon centered on a new book that gives strategies for couples to amicably divide household chores.
Eve Rodsky’s first book, “Fair Play,” released last month, invents what P&G touts as a “groundbreaking system of rebalancing the domestic workload between partners.” Household work is right in P&G’s wheelhouse, what with its extensive portfolio of cleaning and laundry products.
With Reese Withersppon’s media company, Hello Sunshine, Rodsky’s methods will be explored in a podcast, video, live event, and P&G says, branded content — all intended to help women “step more fully in the world by getting their partners to step more fully into the home.”
Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and P&G brands Tide, Downy, Charmin and Bounty produced a series of video and a podcast called “In All Fairness" that will begin showing up this month, featuring interviews by Rodsky with designer Whitney Port, TV personality Tanika Ray, actor Lance Gross and others. They’ll be distributed on Hello Sunshine’s YouTube channel and other P&G social sites.
“At P&G, we believe in equality, and we’re determined to advance equality in the workplace and our world. It makes our business better,” said P&Gs Carolyn Tastad, group president North America/ global sales officer, in a statement. “And we know that equality at work is easier when there’s equality at home."
For P&G to take a conspicuous role in suggesting men and women split up domestic duties has its ironies. P&G and other consumer packaged goods makers have a history of depicting women as housewives enraptured with cleaning, in images and commercials now often parodied.
But recently, P&G has stepped up its game. Within about three years, P&G wants women to make up at least half of the directors for
its commercials, no small edict given the company spends around $7 billion a year on its ads. It’s also joined in other initiatives toward the goal of gender equity, including having
Secret deodorant make a donation of $529,000 to the members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team.
Fully titled "Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live)," Rodsky's book was released on Oct. 1, debuting on The New York Times best-seller list, and was chosen as Witherspoon’s book club book of the month.
Rodsky is a lawyer who recognized the “unpaid, invisible” tasks women always seem to be doing, and talked with hundreds of couples about how they split responsibilities. That led to her fair play system.