KPMG Tees Off to #BreakGlassCeilings with Golf Pros Lewis and Mickelson

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KPMG is teeing off against gender discrimination with its first TV campaign in more than a decade.

The ads promote the inaugural KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, a conference for women leaders held the same week, June 8-14, in Rye, New York. The championship offers a $3.5 million purse and will be broadcast on NBC and the Golf Channel.

“This is a critical business initiative for us,” said John Veihmeyer, global chairman of KPMG International, in the Wall Street Journal. “This tournament and this external visibility is such a natural outgrowth of a large number of things we’ve been doing internally over a number of years to sustain and continue to build a strong culture of inclusion.”

The US TV spots star golf champions and KPMG brand ambassadors Phil Mickelson and Stacy Lewis. “Glass Ceilings” portrays Lewis literally shattering a glass ceiling in a board room by hitting a golf ball.

And “The Usual” pits Lewis against Mickelson in a round of golf where she trounces him.

The trials of breaking the glass ceiling in the workplace, along with wage discrepancy, a lack of representation on corporate boards and in the C-Suite, are increasingly coming to the forefront as social media fuels the fires of transparency and equality.

KPMG says nearly 63 percent of its US employees are women or racially diverse, and one-quarter of its board members are women. KPMG created an advisory council for the Women’s Leadership Summit, including Lewis, Vice Chair KPMG’s advisory business Lynne Doughtie, Nasdaq President Adena Friedman and General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic.

“A number of things converged that made this the right moment,” said Chris Goodman, KPMG’s CMO. “Part of it was our ongoing commitment to women’s leadership and the empowerment of women executives. It coincided with conversations we were having with PGA executives and that converged into a larger initiative.”

The marketing push includes print ads in Fortune, USA Today and Golf Magazine and the social media campaign with hashtag #breakglassceilings.

The campaign is the first time a male golfer has taken such a role in promoting a women’s professional golf tournament. “When I was asked to be a part of these TV commercials along with Stacy, I saw it as a great opportunity,” said Mickelson. “Her game is impressive, we had a lot of fun on the shoot, and I think the commercials turned out great and send a powerful message.”

Dean Crutchfield, SVP Sterling Brands, sums of KPMG’s campaign in the Wall Street Journal: “If a company is taking a proactive stance on this movement, it will reflect well upon its brand. As long as it’s done with sincerity and clarity and delivered with a real sense for what role that brand plays in endorsing the women’s movement… It gives that brand a very public mission and that will help move a business forward.”

So golf and equality for women just took one big cleated step forward.

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