25th - 26th SEPTEMBER 2019  |  OLYMPIA

Dove Men+Care looks for the positive in pandemic with campaign about dads caring for kids

Ad Age 04 May 2020 10:34

Since its inception a decade ago, Dove Men+Care has been built with ads about relationships between dads and kids. So the Unilever brand is launching a campaign depicting real dads’ shelter-in-place lives, using footage harvested from social media, adding original hand-washing videos featuring celebrity dads with their kids, topped off with more how-to videos meant to help dads cope with quarantine.

A “Dad On” video from Ogilvy Toronto gets around current production restraints with user-generated video and photos. Rather than somber piano solos and sad scenes common in other pandemic ads, including Dove’s own “Courage Is Beautiful” last month, “Dad On” shows dads actually having fun.  

The brand pairs that with a series of videos from Edelman showing dads how to give a haircut, help an autistic child make a change in routine, or help any kid overcome fear, work out at home or be creative.

Dove Men+Care also is working for the first time with Uninterrupted, the creative shop (it prefers the term “athlete empowerment brand” to “agency”) founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, to launch a series of hand- washing tutorial videos. The first is an animated musical featuring DJ Khaled and his son, to be followed by other videos to Khaled’s music featuring Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, James’ Lakers teammate JaVale McGee, Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson.

Carlos Gil, global brand VP of Dove Men+Care, knows the drill well by now, having sheltered in place with his own three kids in Connecticut these recent weeks.

At one point, when the search for social videos was turning up too little, Gil says, “We were considering me doing it with my kids as an element.”

Though that wasn’t ultimately unnecessary, it might have involved showing Gil manage the quarantine with family workouts and nightly meditation before dinner around 6 p.m.

“We wanted to bring an uplifting, positive message,” he says. That was partly to stand out from the pack, since he says the team was aware of the rapidly developing pushback other pandemic ads were engendering.

“This is a great opportunity for us as a brand to help men navigate this situation and make the most of it,” Gil says. “The more men experience the transformational effect care has in their lives, the better gender equality will be, the better they will be, the better society will be.”

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