Real men, real beauty

Unilever’s Dove Men+Care arrives on shelves.

As you’re reading this, Unilever’s Dove Men+Care line will be arriving on shelves. The North American debut of the men-only line of soaps, body and face washes and a baseball-shaped loofah-style ‘shower tool’ had been rumoured since the line was piloted in Italy last fall.
While Unilever Canada couldn’t confirm all the details of the domestic media buy at press time, the official campaign launch in the U.S. and Canada is set for Super Bowl Sunday (natch). A black-and-white spot by Ogilvy London on already reaches out to men who have outgrown Axe, asking, ‘You’ve reached a stage where you’re comfortable with who you are. Shouldn’t your skin be just as comfortable?’
It’s not the first time Dove has dared cross the gender barrier in advertising, says Nancy Vonk, co-CCO of Ogilvy Toronto, who created Dove’s last Super Bowl effort for the ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ in 2006. ‘In fact, we have done three ads for Dove featuring men,’ she says. ‘It’s a great product, and the men who are not put off by using a ‘women’s brand’ swear by it.’
We asked a brand expert whether having ‘MEN’ on the label would make it easier for guys to reach for a brand that has associated itself so strongly with women and girls. ‘I think it’s critical,’ says Philippe Garneau, ECD at GWP Brand Engineering and creator of brands such as ING Direct and Intact Insurance. ‘They might secretly reach for the conditioner, but there’s a reason why the packaging looks and feels that way. Guys will look for something that’s a little more, you know.’
And the ‘comfy in your own skin’ positioning? ‘This is the male extension of the Dove ‘Real Beauty’ campaign,’ says Queens marketing professor Ken Wong. ‘It’s a phrase I hear all the time to reference a guy who is beyond playing games. So the theme is consistent with what Dove has been stressing.’