Cannes Lions

Changing Papa Culture Through Pop Culture with Dads

UNILEVER, London / DOVE / 2021

Supporting Images
Supporting Images






Dove Men+Care is a leading personal care brand that was created 10 years ago to support caring representations of men. In the male grooming category, where performance is often prioritized, Dove Men+Care’s purpose is to inspire every man to experience the transformative effects of care on himself and others. From championing paternity leave legislation to taking action against racial discrimination, Dove Men+Care is a supporter of diverse, caring men everywhere.

In 2018, the brand commissioned a study that found fathers want to do their share of the caregiving at home but limiting societal expectations and media stereotypes hold them back. Consequently, Dove Men+Care set out to challenge those stereotypes and celebrate engaged, involved fathers as aspirational role models. To do this, the brand stepped outside the world of traditional advertising and into entertainment to ignite a cultural conversation about modern fatherhood.


Dove Men+Care partnered with Academy and Emmy Award-winning producers Imagine Entertainment to co-create Dads, a full-length movie which illuminates shifting cultural norms surrounding fatherhood and celebrates the emotional, true stories of extraordinary dads from around the world. Woven into the film's narrative is a Greek chorus of famous dads such as Will Smith, Hasan Minhaj, Jimmy Kimmel, Kenan Thompson, Jimmy Fallon, and Neil Patrick Harris who share their own poignant and sometimes hilarious reflections on fatherhood.

In a fun twist, Dads was produced and directed by a father-daughter team: Ron Howard and Bryce Dallas Howard. The A-list creative forces were engaged directly from the beginning in a true co-creation effort with the brand to ensure the film concept was engaging, talkable and “audience first” not “brand first.” This included keeping the branding within the film light and focusing on purpose placement, not product placement.


Dove Men+Care wanted to showcase powerful true stories of caring and diverse dads on a mainstream entertainment platform to help redefine what modern fatherhood looks like today in culture.

Historically, Dove Men+Care’s universal target demographic has been male consumers of all ages. But to help drive true cultural change and increase greater consideration of the brand in 2020, Dove Men+Care crafted an entertaining and thought-provoking longform pop culture piece with Hollywood filmmakers that would reach a significantly wider audience, including parents and movie fans alike.

Dads was thus created to appeal to a broad spectrum of viewers in a "lean forward" mindset, with the secondary intention of converting viewers who may be neutral or have a conflicted stance on shifting cultural norms around fatherhood.


Shot in 3 countries over a 10 month period, Dads premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2019, generating movie industry buzz that resulted in the film’s immediate sale to Apple TV+ for a profit. This was cited as the first film acquisition for the platform (branded or otherwise).

The Dads acquisition was a notable moment for brand-created entertainment because brand films are rarely acquired by streaming platforms, let alone for the sum that Dads was acquired for. The funds were later utilized to cover the campaign media budget, which had been cut due to the pandemic.

The film premiered on AppleTV+ on Father’s Day weekend in 150 countries to an overwhelmingly positive response. The surrounding brand campaign included an ESPYs sponsorship on ESPN, a partnership with Hasan Minhaj, paid assets featuring Will Smith across TV, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, and a homepage takeover.


Dads currently holds a 94% Critics Score and a 96% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes. The brand campaign earned over 50 PR placements, achieved 100% positive sentiment and generated over 1.3 billion brand impressions to date.

Positive shifts for the brand's purpose included those exposed more likely to agree that Dove Men+Care "helps Dads feel more confident about fatherhood and taking paternity leave" and 25% more likely to say that Dove Men+Care "encourages Dads to be involved with their children."

Dads delivered significant brand impact, with a 10% uplift on key attributes, a 36% increase in ad recall, a 3% increase in saliency, an 8% increase in perception, and a 13% increase in purchase intent. In comparison to the previous year, brand penetration went from 9.8% to 10.0% and underlying sales growth increased by 10.9%.

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