Dove Jumps Into The Confidence Pool

It’s hard to write a Super Bowl ad story that doesn’t touch on Taylor Swift -- who, as you might have heard, is romantically linked to Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

With the cameras cutting away to get a glimpse of Tay jumping for joy at Travis’ games, she’s become a red-lipped lightning rod in conservative circles while also bringing a fresh new demo of young fangirls to the NFL.

Even this Dove spot has some degree of linkage.



Last week, Kylie Kelce, who is married to Jason Kelce, Travis’ football-playing brother, unveiled Dove’s new 30-second Super Bowl spot on her Instagram account. As a hockey coach and mom of three young girls, Kylie is promoting Dove’s Body Confident Sport Program. And as a supportive friend and (and future- sister-in-law?) to the singer, Kylie’s confidence message works in concert with Swift’s brand of body positivity, feminism, and mental health awareness.

Dove last appeared on the Super Bowl 18 years ago, with a soaring commercial launching the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, showing portraits of beautiful young girls with subtitles like “thinks she’s fat” and “thinks she’s ugly.”  Heartbreaking but powerful, the message was a great revolution for a beauty brand at the time, and its power was compounded by having the media muscle to show up on a holy day for the big boys.

And although Dove’s continued to do important work with its foundation in the years since, in some ways, with the explosion of perfection-obsessed social media and online bullying (plus the growing focus on cosmetic surgery) the situation for young women has only gotten worse.

And while it’s nice that Swift is bringing tween girls in to watch her watching the game, it’s way more important for them to enjoy the lifetime health and psychological benefits of playing sports themselves.

Simple, human, and inspiring, this spot is based on a distressing statistic: that worldwide, 45% girls quit sports by age 14 due to low body confidence. Still!

The spot starts out raucously, with “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” a song from "Annie," setting a bracing, unexpected tone. (Although the song is really about complaints from 1930s orphans, it seems hopeful. Glad they didn’t pick “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.”)

We see a series of video vignettes, bloopers showing girls flailing and failing while doing gymnastics, softball, etc. They’re really into it, and some of them go down hard. The video is nicely cut to match the music. The best part: This is real user-generated content, not shot for the spot. A title card says, “The knocks don’t stop girls playing sport. Low body confidence does.”

Then it moves into what was filmed by Ogilvy: We watch a girl, maybe 11 years old, standing sheepishly in front of a full-length mirror, assessing herself in a bathing suit.  “45% of girls quit sports by age 14” a title card says, as we can viscerally feel her insecurity. It’s such a poignant, vulnerable time in a girl’s life, with getting a period and experiencing dramatic, sometimes overnight, bodily changes.

“Together,” another card says, “we can keep them in the game.” 

The girl is shown moving to the pool, and confidently jumping in. I have to say it made me cry.

Dove has partnered with Nike to launch Body Confident Sport, working with coaches worldwide, hoping to reach one million 11- to 17-year-olds with a rigorous set of tools to make them feel like sport is a place where they belong.

It’s Dove-tested. Hope it becomes Swiftie-approved.

1 comment about "Dove Jumps Into The Confidence Pool".
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  1. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, February 6, 2024 at 9:50 a.m.

    If 70% of all kids quit sports by the time they're 13, then this problem is far more of a problem for boys than for girls:

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