Vice President–Brand Building, US Skincare Business
eMarketer: What makes men and dads such an important target for Dove?
Robert Candelino: If you look at the growth in men’s grooming and skin cleansing, it is the engine driving many, if not all, of the personal care segments that Unilever competes in. If you look at our brands—Dove Men+Care, Axe, Degree for Men, Suave for Men and Clear for Men, among others—we have strong positions in men’s grooming across what I call the continuum of grooming. The men’s grooming category grew about 6% last year. At Unilever, we’re growing almost three times that, at nearly 16%. It’s critically important for us as a business.
Increasingly we’re seeing guys, not just dads, becoming much more involved in their grooming process and that, we believe, moves in lockstep with the new role that men, particularly dads, are playing in society. They are becoming much more involved in the household decisions.
“Men, fathers in particular, are playing a very balanced and different role than they have historically, and that’s something we want to celebrate with Dove Men+Care”
eMarketer: How are you at Unilever leveraging the message behind the Dove Men+Care line of grooming products to engage men?
Candelino: The latest iteration of our Dove Men+Care “Journey to Comfort” video series features former NFL stars John Elway and Doug Flutie sharing personal experiences that both on and off the field have helped them become comfortable in their own skin. They share their stories about how they’ve gotten to the point where they’re comfortable in their own skin. Flutie talks in one of his spots about how he incentivized his daughter’s soccer team to win a game by allowing them to paint his fingernails. Elway, who was in two Super Bowls, talks about how he loves to dance and embarrass his kids on the dance floor.
These experiences are very reflective of men in society today. This kind of digital video content allows guys to see that these superstars are every bit as human as they are. That’s a connection we hope to make between our brand and guys. But also, on a bigger scale, we hope to send a message to society that guys have evolved. Men, fathers in particular, are playing a very balanced and different role than they have historically, and that’s something we want to celebrate with Dove Men+Care.
Everything we do as marketers starts and stops with relevant, engaging content in the right platforms. We engage our guys where they live, work, play and shop, so that means understanding where and how they consume media and the types of media, messaging and content that they choose to engage with. Men are huge consumers of social media but they don’t use it the same way as women. They’re less likely to post pictures, but they’re more likely to engage with video content. They consume video content at a rate of two to one, if not more, and watch their favorite shows through digital video more than women do.
eMarketer: What is the key insight for Unilever when it comes to connecting with young men who’ve recently become fathers?
Candelino: The single greatest transformative event for a man is the birth of a child. So the quality of a man’s skin is that much more important because they’re that much more sensitive to it when they’re holding their son or their daughter against their skin. We see a role for our products to help a man be more comfortable in who he is, with his grooming routine and in his interaction with children.
“The birth of a child forces a man to reappraise everything he is, the way he looks and how he takes care of himself, so he’s much more acutely aware of new products for himself.”
eMarketer: How does a man’s approach to shopping change once he becomes a father?
Candelino: Shopping becomes much more enlightened following the birth of a child. A guy who’s in his mid- to late 20s is learning how to shop and has a few brands that he’s most passionate about, but for the most part, he’s OK with a wide variety. Once a guy has a child and he’s the primary shopper, he has a list, because he can’t forget to buy the diapers and the baby food and all the other things.
The birth of a child forces a man to reappraise everything he is, the way he looks and how he takes care of himself, so he’s much more acutely aware of new products for himself. He’s also acutely aware of his own grooming habits. That’s the insight that we’re learning, and that’s why you’re seeing retailers across the spectrum allocate more real estate to men.
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