You might have noticed that we have covered the gender pay gap issues quite extensively – from companies showing the gulf between male and female sportspeople with inequality balls, using a more equal FEM currency, to playing cards where the ‘Queen rules’. Now, as the issue still seems to prevail no matter how much you try to analyse it, the gender pay gap is real, persistent, and harmful to women’s economic security. The adults need to be constantly reminded why being underpaid based solemnly on gender is not only not fair, but also demeaning. Yet, there’s someone who might grasp the problem so easily that it should help open our ‘old eyes’. The children.

So this Halloween, Kansas City-based creative agency Barkley decided to cheekily deceive the youngsters and show them how unfair the gender pay gap really is – by using their favourite currency: candy.

At the end of every trick-or-treating escapade, the little ones go and count their loot and it’s clear that they are the leading experts in fairness. Now, in “A Scary Truth: The Wage Gap” they can’t believe their own eyes. Shock replaces outrage when the adorable witches, vampires, and zombies realise that the girls will be getting less of the sweet treats than the boys. In fact, they will be getting much less without a particular reason, which they obviously don’t like. Not even the boys!

When the candy lovers show up at the Scary Truth house, it’s not a friendly mom in a scary costume who greets them but instead a businessman in an expensive suit who shamelessly provides more and larger candy and to the boys than to the girls. Naturally, you can see how heartbroken the kids are. The agency actually hired the children of Barkley employees and friends and invited them to participate in the unfair trick-or-treating experiment without them suspecting anything.

As you’ve probably figured out, the notable candy disproportion is used to highlight the gender pay gap, where globally women are paid an average of 80 cents on the dollar to men. And it gets worse. For women of colour, the average is even less. In Barkley’s hometown of Kansas City, that gap is “even wider at 79 cents on the dollar.” Although being presented the fact in their own currency—which they understand easily—the kids are definitely not cool with such discrepancy. “We deserve that one,” declares a little girl while pointing to the oversized lollipops which are being handed to the boys. Another girl has already got some clue, “They’re both people, they should get the same amount.”

The campaign supports the Women’s Foundation and the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which takes on the wage gap with programs like salary negotiation training with their new online salary negotiation training initiative. “Our hope is that we can play a small part in getting a generation of women the tools they need so these little girls grow up and never hear the term ‘wage gap,’” says Katy Hornaday, Executive Creative Director of Barkley, in a press release.

You can watch the video below to see how unhappy all the children are with the current state of pay gap affairs. But don’t worry, after the cameras stopped rolling, all participants were given plenty of equal sized candy. And that’s exactly how it should be, don’t you agree?


Agency: Barkley
Chief Idea Officer: Tim Galles
Executive Creative Director: Katy Hornaday
Group Creative Director: Matt Pruett
Creative: Molly Griffin
Creative: Jeremy Gilberto
Creative: Jordan Breindel
Creative: Justin Smith
VP Strategy Director: Howard Laubscher
Director of Integrated Production: Melany Esfeld
Producer: Shawn Wallace
Associate Producer: Sophie Caster

Production Company: Barkley Films
Director: Dustin Schirer
Producer: Lauren Alexander
Cinematography: Griffin Davis, Matthew Bilmes, Haley Hennier, Amanda Moy
Editor: Amanda Moy
Set Design: Matthew Wilson

Music: Primary Color Music