March 6, 2021

Advertising: Dove Campaign Includes Women D.J.’s

Dove is working with MTV for its new “Fresh Spin” campaign, whose first big event occurs Sunday at the Video Music Awards. Last year, the broadcast drew 11.4 million viewers, nearly half of whom were females ages 12 to 34.

That is the top demographic for Dove’s new effort to market Rebalance deodorant and body spray. The brand is showcasing three young women D.J.’s in a new video series, social media and a new Web site, The D.J.’s also are engaging fans in an interactive music game on the Internet site.

“Women disc jockeys are the newest trendsetters for music, fashion and popular culture,” said Kathy O’Brien, vice president for Unilever’s United States personal care division, which includes hair, skin and deodorant products.

“These 20-something D.J.’s are arbiters of what’s cool and fresh in music, fashion and pop culture,” she said. “They are sharing personal stories, style secrets and music insights they have gathered by having the pulse of all that is cool.”

The Dove brand styles itself as a marketing trendsetter through its early use of the Internet as a marketing channel and its real beauty campaign, which drew praise for promoting women’s self-esteem and criticism because the women wore only underwear. Unilever also worked with its advertising agency, Ogilvy Mather Worldwide, owned by the WPP Group, to make the “Evolution” video showing a model’s face being eerily transformed into perfection for a commercial.


Unilever first introduced Rebalance with 15- and 30-second television spots, created with Ogilvy, with the product presented by a young woman amid a shower of doves. The spots, which began in July, will run until the end of October on broadcast and cable networks, including ABC, Fox, NBC and Bravo.

This month, Dove introduced its “Fresh Spin” campaign, Ms. O’Brien said, to prolong product awareness. The campaign, which focuses on social engagement and not a strong product sell, reaches out to buyers with its Web site, commercials on MTV and social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

The Web videos, which last three minutes or longer, are behind-the-scenes looks into the lives of three D.J.’s — Jessica Who, Chelsea Leyland and Diamond Kuts — all of whom are in their 20s. Ms. Who’s videos show her in some sweaty situations, suggesting the need for deodorant, but Rebalance is never mentioned.

All three women took part in a MTV tour this summer to introduce new young musicians and to drum up interest in the MTV video music awards, and two other events — Fashion Week, in mid-September, and an MTV online video awards ceremony, expected to take place in October.

This week, Dove began running 30- and 60-second commercials on MTV to introduce the trio. Ms. Who will report live from the video music awards, interviewing musicians on the red carpet and sharing her take on the music scene. The video will be available on after the awards.

Ms. Leyland, who is known for her disc spinning at New York fashion events, will be employed similarly at Fashion Week, and Ms. Kuts, based in Philadelphia, at the online music awards.

Dove approached the three D.J.’s directly, after teaming up with MTV to identify them and create the campaign for Rebalance, which is part of Dove’s midprice Go Fresh deodorant line. Dove formed a partnership with MTV in 2008 when it introduced the Go Fresh line.

“We used our expertise in music and understanding millennials to help cast three young talents who have their finger on style and pop culture,” said Jeannie Scalzo, senior vice president of MTV Integrated Marketing.

“Each has a unique voice, passion and eye for this,” she said, “and we are unleashing their influence in spotting new trends and showcasing how they work and play on the front lines every day.”


Dove spent $34.1 million last year on deodorant category advertising, according to Kantar Media. Ms. O’Brien said the Rebalance campaign would take the majority of the category’s ad spend this year, but she did not disclose the exact figure.

Dove worked with the digital creative agency Ryan Partnership, based in Wilton, Conn. — to develop the Rebalance campaign, including Web banners, mobile media and the Web site — and Mindshare, a New York agency in the GroupM media services unit of WPP. Joe Maceda, Mindshare’s director of client leadership, said that using D.J.’s for this campaign added to Dove’s credentials because the women were so influential with young consumers.

“As a brand, Dove does not want to focus on celebrities,” he said. “The D.J.’s are real girls who are culturally relevant. They aggregate ideas about movements, fashion and, of course, music.”

The campaign also includes a Twitter contest, using the #FreshSpin hashtag, where users can upload a photo and be randomly selected to win product giveaways. There will also be “Twitter parties,” using the same hashtag, which will include real-time chats with the three Dove D.J.’s and the opportunity to win prizes.

In an effort to engage consumers, Dove’s Web site also offers an interactive “Mix Master” game, so participants can create their own D.J. names, then personalize music mixes or add sound tracks in the style of the three D.J.’s, and share them with friends through Facebook.

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