consumer packaged goods

Dove Celebrates Armpits In NYC Transit Push

Dove, now in its 20th year of "Real Beauty" messages, is moving on to underarms. With an out-of-home campaign, the brand is hoping to let women shake off negative judgments about their underarms. The #freethepits effort is timed to New York Fashion Week and culminates with free deodorant and Metro Cards.

"We did a study last year and found that almost eight in ten women don't believe that their armpits look, feel or sweat like the ideal armpit," says Pranav Chandan, U.S. head of deodorants for Unilever, which owns Dove. "There's no reason for people to be insecure about their underarms, and we wanted to bring that to light."

And six out of 10 women in Dove’s research say they are judgmental about other people's armpits.

New York's subways are where all those anxieties come to life. "Some women told us that they don't even like to reach up to grab the bars in subways or hail a cab because of their armpits," he tells Marketing Daily. "We asked ourselves, 'How do we intercept women in a very contextual, relevant environment, with messages of empowerment?' And this is an opportunity to be a bit more provocative."



Ads are running at such New York City subway stations as Times Square, Herald Square, 14th St. and 8th Avenue, and five other stations. Several locations are using "Station Dominations," fully taking over the ad space.

Ogilvy London created the campaign, in collaboration with its team at David New York.

The effort ends with a "Pit Stop" activation at Chelsea Plaza, just as New York Fashion Week kicks off. "Pit Kit" giveaways include deodorant samples and Metro Cards good for two free rides.

Chandan says the effort fits nicely in Dove's overarching mission to do away with toxic beauty images. Armpit worries are harmful, he says. "Almost 75% of the women in our research say that they're less likely to go to a social event because of sweating, and 75% said they're sometimes less likely to exercise in public. We want to help them shed some of those anxieties."

He says there are no plans to expand the efforts beyond the sweaty boundaries of New York, even as outsiders flood into the city for Fashion Week events.

"It's an opportune time. With the summer heat continuing and as Fashion Week heats up, we'll see plenty of visitors from other parts of the world."

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