Cannes Lions

#BlackHairIsProfessional

OGILVY, London / DOVE / 2023

Awards:

1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Case Film
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Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

Dove co-founded the CROWN Coalition in 2019 to pass the CROWN Act, a law that aims to end race-based hair discrimination in schools and the workplace in the United States. The CROWN Act has been passed in less than half of U.S. states and recent data shows only 1/3 of the Black community is aware of the CROWN Act's existence.

This sparked the launch of #BlackHairIsProfessional and a first-of-its-kind partnership between Dove and LinkedIn, which quickly became the most successful partnership in Dove’s history.

The campaign sought to use the power of social media to influence hiring practices and workplace culture on the platform where hiring happens, leading to more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Idea

Knowing that we needed to reach those in the workplace, Dove partnered with LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network with nearly One Billion engaged members. Backed by new, collaborative research that found that Black woman's hair is 2.5 times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional in the workplace, we had a compelling tension to work with. Dove itself would lead the conversation with a striking key visual depicting this tension and the hashtag #BlackHairIsProfessional. We also enlisted Black women who could authentically help the business world understand the urgency that is needed to address this issue with their real stories of hair discrimination on LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram. After encountering these stories, LinkedIn members were encouraged to visit Dove.com/LinkedIn to access 10 LinkedIn Learning courses to support a more equitable and inclusive work environment for free, as well as sign the CROWN Act petition.

Strategy

• Data gathering

We utilized a team of six paid creators to share their stories and inspire participation. The campaign also tracked engagement metrics, including organic campaign impressions, net new posts, and viral actions on the LinkedIn platform and across all social platforms.

• Target audience (consumer demographic / individuals/ organisations)

The target audience included individuals, organizations, and employers who are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

• Relevance to social platform

We leveraged LinkedIn's professional platform, where users are already engaging in career development and networking. By using the platform to spark conversations around unconscious bias in the workplace, the campaign was able to reach a highly relevant and engaged audience.

• Approach

The use of paid creators and the owned hashtag #BlackHairIsProfessional helped to drive talkability and participation, leading to significant organic impressions and engagement on the LinkedIn platform.

Execution

We launched the campaign during Black History Month in an innovative partnership with LinkedIn. The launch featuring three key visuals highlighting the workplace double standard Black women face when it comes to their hair. The campaign involved co-creation with LinkedIn, offering free bias training to all professionals on the platform. Our messaging was tailored to the LinkedIn platform, generating an impressive 1 billion earned impressions. We took a multi-channel approach, launching on TikTok and Instagram with the help of six paid creators to encourage engagement and conversation using the hashtag #BlackHairIsProfessional. Additionally, we placed OOH billboards in high-traffic business districts to amplify our message. Through co-creation and user-generated content, we successfully sparked a dialogue and promoted greater awareness of Dove and LinkedIn’s commitment to ending hair discrimination.

Outcome

The campaign went viral with over 5.9 million organic impressions in week one, over 1,000 net new posts of people sharing campaign and their own stories, and our owned hashtag viewed more than 9 million times. The success of the campaign led HR professionals from Fortune 500 companies to reach out to Dove in an effort to lead change within their own organizations and get involved with the CROWN Act. All campaign metrics were exceeded, including pushing Dove over its goal of 500,000 signatures on the CROWN Act petition.

The campaign was perceived as a powerful and necessary step towards dismantling harmful and outdated standards of beauty and professionalism.

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