Dove: Helping Girls Love Their Hair Deep Down to the “Cell-Fie”

Campaign Summary

Dove leveraged the selfie phenomenon and the desire of its target audience to change hair styles without damaging their hair to reclaim the leading market share in Vietnam.


Objective and Context:

In 2013, Dove lost its position as the No. 1 hair care brand in Vietnam, and saw the launch of a new product that repaired damaged hair at a cellular level as an opportunity to regain market share. The advertising landscape for hair care was already saturated with functional messaging around the scientific benefits of a particular product, and Dove needed to cut through the noise in order to engage consumers. The brand decided to focus on the consumers themselves, specifically their everyday hair problems. A woman’s hair is important to her self-image, and research indicated that 95 percent of Vietnamese women actively seek different ways to style their hair. However, fear of hair damage due to excessive styling prevented them from experimenting as much as they wanted to.

Target Audience:

Dove’s target audience was comprised of highly engaged women active on digital and social media. The brand focused on females, ages 18 to 35, who valued natural, healthy beauty products. While national smartphone penetration sat at 20 percent, 68 percent of women in the target group actively shared photos taken on their smartphones with friends via social media. Naturally, for such socially engaged and image-conscious women, “selfies” were hugely popular.

Creative Strategy:

The brand’s target audience knew that the trade-off to styling their hair was damage and dryness, so despite the fact that 95 percent wanted to be able to try different styles to suit their diverse and active lifestyles, 92 percent claimed that they ended up wearing their hair the same way, day in and day out. Dove’s strategy was to give women the freedom to style their hair as much as they liked without worrying about damage. By empowering them to feel “selfie-ready” for every occasion, Dove provided them relevant value through its product. This was crucial, as the shampoo category was one of the top three in terms of advertising budget in Vietnam, and Dove was competing for consumer attention with 16 other major shampoo brands.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Dove developed the campaign by focusing on consumer needs and end goal (the ability to style their hair as much as they liked) instead of the problem itself. By combining this with the “selfie” phenomenon that was starting to gain serious momentum in Vietnam in 2013, Dove was able to generate hyper-relevant engagement with its target audience. Dove’s ads were designed to drive traffic to its app, where users were rewarded with discounts on Dove products for posting selfies on their social networks. The brand introduced the app to influential beauty bloggers before the general public to generate interest.

Mobile Execution:

The app was also promoted via mobile display banners, search engine marketing, and a national activation program held in high traffic areas like shopping malls, where large digital billboards projected the latest consumer entries and served as an incentive for women to download the app on the spot and see a selfie on the big screen.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The campaign generated 200 percent digital ROI, the highest among any Unilever campaign in Vietnam in 2013. In addition:

  • More than one million people engaged with branded video content from the campaign.
  • Dove’s app was downloaded by 40,000 consumers and became the No. 1 app in the beauty category in Vietnam.
  • The brand reclaimed its leading market share in Vietnam.

Categories: Cross Media Integration, Cross Mobile Integration | Industries: Health & Beauty | Objectives: Cross Media Integration, Cross Mobile Integration | Awards: Finalist, Silver Global Winner