Dove is standing tall for men. Really tall. Magic Johnson is the latest recruit for Dove Men+Care, the Unilever-owned brand’s campaign featuring male athletes.
Launching March 14 during the NCAA March Madness championship tournament, the spot will echo other athletes' "Journey to Comfort" spots (such as Joe Girardi's, above) with the introduction: “My name is Magic Johnson, and I’m definitely comfortable in my own skin.”
The new basketball themed campaign expands on the brand's baseball star spots that, beside Girardi, also featured New York Yankee Andy Pettitte (who just announced his retirement) and the Cardinals' Albert Pujols, all unified by a vision of self-assurance and target a very specific consumer.
“This is a guy who’s reached a point in his life when he’s very comfortable with who he is as a man. He’s in his mid- to late-30s, has a couple kids, and he’s had quite an eventful life,” according to Rob Candelino, director of the personal wash division at Unilever, whose purview includes Axe, Suave and the original Dove.
Dove Men’s line “speaks to a guy who’s been through all that, who lived through those teen years and his 20s and got married and had kids.”
Johnson's TV campaign is joined by John Thompson III, coach of Georgetown’s men’s basketball team, and Bobby Hurley, a former star at Duke. The campaign is overseen by Omnicom’s Davie Brown Entertainment agency.
Unilever launched its Dove for Men line a year ago, during Super Bowl XLIV, when the ad industry questioned if the costly 30-second buy was on strategy:
Prior to this Super Bowl ad, three of the most popular terms associated with Dove were “soap,” “beauty” and “deodorant.”
But in the 24 hours following its Super Bowl debut, terms like “Super Bowl,” “ad” and “men," came up tops according to Zeta Interactive and the Dove spot ranked No. 11 on their list of the top 15 Super Bowl commercials, receiving a 76% positive score, tied with Snickers' commercial starring Betty White and Abe Vigoda.
“We’re not simply throwing a Dove logo on their jerseys the way that sports endorsements have gone in the past,” adds Candelino. “Our guys are fans of these athletes, but they want to know their stories as real people, and their stories are real and moving and that’s what we’re celebrating.”
The campaign highlights a new line of antiperspirants and deodorants. The Dove Men's website will also lure hoops fans with an NCAA-themed trivia game and a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles to meet Johnson at a Lakers game.
In the past year year the brand has joined the ranks of top 10 sellers in the body wash category with a 3.4% share of the market.