The Strength to Care. Dove Men+Care.

  • Lizi Hamer
Dove wanted to challenge traditional stereotypes of masculinity, to support men in one of the most macho cultures on earth, Australia. We needed to grab our audience by the collar and hit them where we knew we had their attention via the sport they love. Rugby - if we could convince this group to rethink their position on the topic, we could convince anybody.
So we convinced the most interesting, entertaining and introverted Wallaby to tell his stories of strength. Because introverts often speak the loudest.
This campaign has been recognised globally; Spikes Asia, Gold in Entertainment & Talent. Australian, BeFest, Gold for best branded content campaign and UK, The Drum, best branded content campaign with positive impact.
Strength to Care was our creative platform devised to tackle the stigma of care being a sign of weakness. Rather, we wanted to celebrate a man’s caring approach to their loved ones, family and themselves.
It’s a celebration of the men who choose to live life with respect and equality for those around them, and the strength to care for the world we live in.
The cultural / social / political climate in your region and the significance ofthe campaign.
Boys around the world are told from an early age that showing emotion is a sign of weakness. And there are few countries with a more traditional masculine culture than Australia.
Don’t cry. Harden Up. Don’t be a baby.
A man’s worth is judged by his physical strength and a stoic face. So as society continues to challenge gender imbalances, it is asking men to care, and so we have a conflict. How can the knight in shining armour, exist in the same moment as the man we need to access his deepest emotions, to be compassionate and gentle.
In a country where for generations a certain definition of masculinity has grown and taken root, we needed to go beyond telling and demonstrate that it takes strength to care.
The Strength to Care campaign is unique because it stops us from defining men by outdated virtues – strength, financial success, career. We demonstrated that having that strength to care for yourself and others is in fact the most important part of being a man.
'Only 23% of male rugby fans would say "I Love you" to their wife in public.'
'11% of male Rugby fans tell their Dad they love him.'
'Just 5% of male rugby fans tell a mate when they are feeling sad.'
Australian society has been telling men it’s all about looking strong rather than being strong. And as a Men's Grooming range interested in both, Dove Men+Care was in an ideal position to start a conversation to challenge traditional stereotypes of masculinity.
Strength to Care would focus on one of the most traditionally masculine audiences - Rugby Fans - if we could convince this group to rethink their position on the topic, we could convince anybody.
A credible and relevant ambassador from within this world would be key to our success.
We explored the world of rugby and uncovered a player who:
Was an active campaigner against climate change, recently being arrested for a protest outside a mine. Refused to marry his partner until his gay friends were able to do the same in Australia. Is known as an incredibly compassionate, strong and socially conscience person.
A man who lived his life with 'Strength to Care'.
David Pocock.
We had found the perfect guy, but at first glance, the perfect guy wasn’t likely to work with us. In order to get David Pocock’s support for the campaign, we had to undertake a very personal process, demonstrating how the brand aligns with his beliefs.
David had refused many ambassador opportunities in the past - his intense moral compass making traditional approaches useless.
Dove's track record of honesty and reality in advertising with the 'Campaign for Real Beauty' provided us the proof we needed to convince David to work with us.
It wasn’t the paycheck for David. It wasn’t a profile opportunity. This was an opportunity for him to share what he cares about in a way that he felt comfortable, confident and proud of.
Not at all your traditional celebrity endorsement, but one for which the hard work and effort has paid off.
The Results.
The authentic creative and media placement strategy meant our message resonated immediately with rugby fans. Hearing these stories from a hero in such a relevant environment (live sport) and throughout the tournament gave weight to the messaging ensuring they were open to the challenging message.
Dove and Pocock’s stories have sparked instant debate. Positive articles about Homophobia, Mental Health and Masculinity were raised throughout the country. We created newsworthy attention being featured on Sky News, Channel 10, SBS and The Project (One of Australians highest rating TV programs). The earned attention allowed men to share their personal stories and we witnessed a nation standing beside David Pocock through online posts #IStandWithPocock and I have the #StrengthToCare
In the first week of launch the campaign generated more than 3 million earned impression. Our message continued to spread, reaching more than 50%, half of the Australian male population.
The conversation about traditional Aussie masculinity has taken its first very big hit - which almost half of the Aussie population hearing and discussing the campaign.