Unilever is finally rolling out its new Baby Dove line in the United States, hoping to bring its #RealBeauty credibility to the most second-guessed consumer: New moms.
In a video called #RealMoms, Dove encourages moms to do it their way, ignoring all the supermarket shade and unwanted advice they get from others. A cattle rancher, a competitive break-dancer, a rock climber and a trans-mom all give new parents the same message: You are the only expert on your kid. A second video, featuring #RealDads, is scheduled to be released in the next few weeks. (A Unilever spokesperson says SapientRazorfish is the agency.)
The company says it hopes that just as its #RealBeauty efforts have challenged stereotypes about what women should look like, the baby-care line will help women resist pressure to be perfect moms. Its research finds that in the U.S., 89% of moms say they feel that expectation, and 72% say they question whether they are parenting right.
They don’t like what they see in the media, either, with 95% say what the media puts out outdated and unrealistic images, and only 26% think parenting perfection is even possible. The research also finds that Millennial moms are likely doing a better job than previous generations in keeping real-life balance in motherhood: 80% in the survey say they don’t believe they need to give up their interests or passions to be a good parent.
It’s worth pointing out that this “trust your way” message is hardly original: Dr. Benjamin Spock opened his legendary Baby & Child Care with “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do” back in 1946. But Dove is adding to its Millennial twist with a social media component of the campaign, encouraging women to talk about it, posting their own “Real moms ______” images.
The company has made a big splash with an ad rewriting Rudyard Kipling’s famous “If” poem for tough parenting moments in other markets; the company rep tells Marketing Daily plans call for it to be used in the U.S., as well. (Dove began rolling the product out in India and other markets last fall.)
It’s the first Dove category launch since Unilever introduced Dove Men+Care back in 2010, and the two are connected, with 76% of moms saying their partner’s involvement helps them pursue what they love outside the family, with 7 out of 10 dads describing themselves as highly involved.
The launch, which includes moisturizing and sensitive formulations in washes, lotions, shampoo and wipes, comes at a tumultuous time for baby-care products. Gen Y parents are flocking to smaller brands and organic products, giving the big names, especially market leader Johnson & Johnson, the baby blues: Sales in its baby care segment fell 3.9% worldwide in the most recent quarter, including a 2.4% decline in the United States.
Unilever was reported to be thisclose to buying the Honest Co., a big hit among Millennial moms, last fall, then pivoted and acquired Seventh Generation, an organic brand that also sells baby care products. (That purchase was reported to be in the $600 million to $700 million range.)