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Monday, November 1, 2010

Unilever Launches First Skincare Line for Men

Global study reveals dry skin as No. 1 complaint

Englewood Cliffs, N.J. -- Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" made headlines for featuring non-models in ads and for encouraging real women to feel comfortable in their own skin. In December, Unilever came out with Dove Men+Care, the brand's first product line for men.

While the female-targeted "Campaign for Real Beauty" originally featured its lineup of "Dove Girls," designed to boost self-esteem by challenging stereotypes, Dove's campaign for men builds on shopper research suggesting that its target male customer is already comfortable in his own skin -- but only metaphorically.

"We discovered that even though men reach a point in their lives when they become comfortable with themselves, they don't necessarily have comfortable skin to match," says Kathy O'Brien, vice president, Unilever Skin. "We know that men's No. 1 skin complaint is dry skin, and even heard from many of them that they think it's from their socks when it's actually harsh cleansers that cause their skin to lose moisture."

Dove's research also revealed that 51% of men use women's skincare products. "We believe it's because they're not finding men's products that meet their needs," says O'Brien, adding that Dove leveraged its "cleansing and moisturizing heritage" in launching the new line, which includes a two-in-one body and face wash, body and face bar, and the Active Clean Shower Tool (essentially a manly loofah).

Dove's shopper insights are based on an August 2009 global survey of 7,579 men ranging from 30 to 55 years old. Quotas were established for age, marital status and parental status to draw from a broad perspective of men. Fifteen-minute interviews were conducted online and via telephone using the field services of Research Now, London, and Davis Research, Calabasas, Calif.

The most useful finding from the study, according to O'Brien, who guided the development of the campaign, was that men attribute a number of significant milestones in their lives to becoming comfortable in their skin, including financial independence (96%), career success (91%), finding a partner (91%), overcoming hardship (87%) and having a child (83%).

A 45-second Super Bowl commercial, "Manthem," marked the global launch of Dove Men+Care as part of a 360-degree campaign, supported by advertising, public relations, promotions, and mobile and digital media, O'Brien says. The commercial features one man's journey of "unsung moments" of being at ease with himself, from birth to fatherhood, in a montage of scenes set to Gioachino Rossini's "William Tell Overture." When the commercial aired, Dove engaged Twitter followers and Facebook fans in real time and invited them to share their own unsung moments of comfort via photo, video or text.

P-O-P displays, produced by a number of vendors, "were created to appeal to both men and the women in their lives who are many times the ones purchasing the products," O'Brien says. "The design of the P-O-P features images from our advertising and aligns with Dove Men+Care packaging to resonate with consumers, featuring dark colors like blue and grey, which we know from our consumer research appeals to men." Displays included pallets at club stores and endcaps at supermarkets and mass merchants, including Target, Meijer and Walmart, where PDQs surrounded Smart Network endcap screens that played brand messaging.

The campaign acknowledges that a man's journey to feeling at ease with himself isn't "a breeze" due to pressures to be strong, excel at sports and look cool. Sales suggest the message has resonance. "We are excited how the products have performed so far," O'Brien says. "Initial results are showing early success and exceeding our target expectations."

Going forward, "We will have a significant presence in platforms where we can engage and interact with our target male consumers and the women in their lives," she adds.

Published: May 2010