Top social awareness program: Dove’s Sleepover for Self-Esteem



Dove knows women are concerned about their daughters’ self-esteem. To arm mothers and daughters with the tools to fend off mounting beauty pressures and grow up confident and secure, Dove moderated the conversation about self-esteem in a way that was fun for everyone.


To reach as many people as possible in the secure environments of their homes, Dove, along with agency partners PHD, Capital C and Harbinger, created a national night of programming on June 7 to entertain women and girls at sleepovers held simultaneously across Canada. By developing a rich media partnership with Corus and Astral, Dove turned traditional sleepover activities like watching TV, movies and games, into an interactive experience that every Canadian girl and her mentor could participate in and benefit from.

By combining an educational message with a fun atmosphere, the campaign sought to raise awareness of the issues around girls’ self-esteem and of the Dove Self-Esteem Fund (DSEF) itself. Movies that would appeal to the female 8- to 14-year-old target were chosen for their positive messaging and reinforced by self-esteem breaks sponsored by the DSEF in lieu of commercials. Experts and role models discussed issues of self-esteem and led activities which were supported by web content.

To drive awareness of the event and sales at store level, consumers received a mail-in offer for free Dove PJ pants with the purchase of two different Dove products.


Leading up to the event, in-store displays, an at-shelf media buy, account-specific retail-tainment in Walmart and Loblaws, a DPS in SmartSource magazine, flyer activity and a full-page ad in Sobeys’ Inspired by Compliments magazine worked to raise awareness of the upcoming sleepover event.

At, visitors could register their sleepovers, order free Dove PJ pants, download free music from Sony BMG and enter to win prizes including a trip to Jamaica. A guide helped moms and mentors pull off self-esteem friendly sleepovers, while girls could try out various activities in the ‘Girl Zone.’

For the main event, moms and girls tuned in to special Sleepover programming on YTV, W and CMT. Each station ran a different movie, and, instead of commercials, author and self-esteem expert Jessica Weiner spoke about beauty pressures and led an activity. In Quebec, similar breaks featuring pop singer Mitsou ran on two Astral Media stations, Canal Vie and Vrak.

Afterwards, girls were invited back to the site to add a picture of their sleepover to a scrapbook, and show Canada how much fun they had.


The sleepover marked the first time that branded content ran commercial free on five stations simultaneously. A total of 5,931 sleepovers were registered, surpassing the goal of 5,000 by 19%, and Dove estimates that approximately 69,000 girls participated, accounting for half the year’s target in a single night. The Corus and Astral partnership generated an estimated 8.6 million total impressions, and the total sleepover audience was 331,000 viewers.

Consumers got comfy in 24,000 pairs of PJ pants. Online, 172,000 unique visitors were logged at, 168,000 visited the sleepover guide section and 34,000 people visited the Girl Zone. The average time spent on the site was four minutes. On the weekend of the event, that average rose to 7:44 minutes.

Media outreach generated over 11 million impressions in print, online, and broadcast, and a media tour received interviews and television appearances.

During the eight-week promo period, sales increased 12% in antiperspirant, 10% in hand and body lotion, 5% in Dove bar and 18% in body wash. Dove increased awareness of the DSEF by 4%.

This success motivated Dove to do it all over again, with a 2009 sleepover on May 2.

Judges’ comments

‘Taking a touchy subject and giving Canadians a fun and safe place to talk about it fits nicely with the DSEF campaign so far. By connecting mothers, daughters and communities with ‘self-esteem friendly’ sleepover content and inspiration, Capital C brought Dove’s positive message into homes across the country.’

-Nathan Rosenberg, CMO, Virgin Mobile Canada

‘Dove is by far my number one choice of all the submissions. The concept is a strong one that addresses a real social issue: self-esteem in young women. From the movies on multiple networks and PJ pants to the website and in-store POP, the campaign was brilliantly conceived. Well done.’

-Peter ter Weeme, principal, Junxion Strategy

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