- Unilever brand Dove Men+Care has hired three everyday athletes to feature in its ads in a move to better represent its target audience, according to a press release.
- The brand partnered with Chris Paul, a San Diego, Marine Corps Veteran and father that bikes, hikes and runs; Sean Williams, a Farmingville, NY-based volunteer firefighter and exercise fanatic that founded The Dad Gang, an organization that challenges the stereotypes of what it means to be a Black father; Alvin Suarez, an NYC-based man that has overcome his visual impairment by playing Goalball, a sport for the visually-impaired that uses ear-hand coordination.
- The strategy came from brand research which revealed that 70% of men said they would like to see everyday athletes represented in the media. ESPN anchor Kevin Negandhi teamed with Dove to reveal the new campaign.
With its latest campaign built around everyday athletes, Dove continues to push inclusive marketing, which the brand has spearheaded over the past few years across a number of its lines and target audiences. In this case, the brand is not highlighting famous professional athletes, but instead showing off everyday men who enjoy being active in their spare time away from their families and communities.
"When we created a product line for athletes, we wanted to address the needs of every man who defines himself as one, not just those who have been elevated up the ranks of their sport," said Amy Stepanian, marketing director of Dove Men+Care, in a statement.
The effort also touches on the self-care trend, which encourages consumers to take time out for themselves. Dove Men+Care wants to help promote a culture where men can feel proud and masculine when they take care of themselves by using personal grooming products, Stepanian said. A similarly themed recent campaign around self-care from Edgewell's Schick parodies dating reality shows to encourage women to show themselves love.
Dove has consistently used its marketing over the past few years to try to be more inclusive and, more recently, to break down male stereotypes and push messaging that highlights the sensitive side of men. Dove Men+Care earlier this year ran a March Madness campaign that tried to bring opposing fans together to support sports fans' desire for positive sports experiences. For Father’s Day in 2018, Dove released a short film to support paternity leave called "Dear Future Dads." The spot featured a diverse group of dads sharing advice and stories about the importance of taking time to care for their children.
During the holidays last year, the brand partnered with affordable haircut chain Bishops Cuts/Color on the hashtag #HolidayShear for a promotion giving free washes and haircuts to men and their children. The message encouraged father-child bonding in the waiting room, again pushing the message of engaged fathers as the pinnacle of masculinity.
These moves come as the personal grooming space heats up thanks to growing competition from direct-to-consumer brands like Harry's and Dollar Shave Club. Dove parent Unilever acquired Dollar Shave Club several years ago, while Edgewell acquired Harry's earlier this year. These deals point to how consumer packaged goods brands increasingly recognize the need to have an omnichannel strategy that reaches across digital and physical touchpoints.