Dove Men+Care funds documentary about dads at TIFF

The Unilever brand hopes the film and its famous subjects will increase the consumer appeal of its work on paternity leave.

Dove Men-Care-Dove Men-Care partners with Imagine Entertainment

Dove Men+Care is building on its campaign advocating for paternity leave by partnering with Imagine Documentaries on Dads, a new fatherhood-championing documentary premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday.

The Bryce Dallas Howard-directed film, produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, Justin Wilkes and Howard’s father Ron Howard, focuses on what fatherhood means to dads from around the world, as well as celebrity fathers like Will Smith and Conan O’Brien.

Leslie Golts, senior global marketing manager for Dove Men+Care, tells strategy that the brand co-financed the making of Dads and has been very involved throughout the production process. According to Golts, Dove Men+Care is listed as a partner in an upfront title card for the film.

Golts says that since 2010, the brand has been attempting to show that the idea of care is an important aspect of “being a man,” and the documentary is incorporating that into its discussions about how the role of the modern father has been updated to reflect a social shift. “We, as a brand, hope to be ahead of the curve and sparking positive change,” Golts says. “We saw there was opportunity for improvement, and we have done a lot of research into why we think this is the right place to be.”

For Dove Men+Care, this means continuing to draw attention to battling stereotypes surrounding care-giving. According to a study, 62% of Canadian fathers felt that their family finances would be adversely affected if they took their allocated leave, while 51% felt it would negatively affect relationships with their superiors.

While Canada has relatively progressive policies when it comes to paternity leave, Golts says, other places are not so lucky. In 2018, Dove launched its social mission around paternity leave globally, increasing its visibility. Golts says that the brand has received more than 30,000 signatories to a pledge to address the importance of paid paternity leave.

Golts says having a documentary with fathers, comedians and actors from a variety of age groups, broadens the consumer appeal of the brand’s mission. She adds that research shows that more involved fathers in a home improves gender quality, and boosts workplace culture too, effects, she says, which are far-reaching.

Golts says that the paternity leave mission is similar to Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, as both initiatives are about delivering a purpose that people “really care about.” That is an increased priority at parent company Unilever, which has been reevaluating the role of “purpose,” and considering offloading brands that do not provide a positive impact on society.