Dove Fights Plastic Waste Campaign

Overview

As one of the world’s biggest beauty brands, housed within one of the world’s largest FMCG businesses, Dove recognised it had a significant role to play in leading the beauty and personal care industry towards a more sustainable future. Our brief was to engage key audiences to globally announce Dove’s new actions and commitments through earned channels with maximum impact, to act as a catalyst for wider industry change. As part of the Unilever family, Dove had already committed to make all its plastic packaging fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. And over the last 10 years, the brand’s initiatives to reduce its plastic use had saved more than 10,000 tonnes of plastic waste through redesign and use of recycled materials. But with more than 120 billion units of packaging produced by the cosmetics industry alone every year, the brand realised they needed to act, and quickly.

Strategy

The pressures of the plastic crisis have planted themselves firmly in the public consciousness. As global environmental impact grows, stakeholders and consumers are demanding more from brands: from transparency to tangible action. Dove’s challenge lay in reconciling the impact of its prior actions with the changes it wanted to make. 

Our strategy was to develop a communications approach that would jointly capitalise on Dove’s historic and new actions to care for the planet, positioning Dove as an industry leader setting the pace in inspiring global action on this highly emotive issue.

Dove has 100+ ongoing initiatives to tackle plastic waste, placing it at the forefront of change. We designed a high-impact campaign to communicate this in a way that would drive awareness and advocacy amongst key consumers, influencers and media.

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Following Unilever’s BETTER | LESS | NO PLASTIC framework, we identified Dove’s three most ground-breaking innovations to form the structure:

•       BETTER: Dove bottles made from 100% recycled plastic

•       LESS: minim - a new, stainless steel, refillable deodorant format

•       NO: Plastic-free packaging for its iconic beauty bar

We then developed a high-impact phased campaign:

Soft launch – a global influencer event designed to test our approach with influential audiences and generate early endorsement.

Global launch and amplification – We developed the launch strategy and toolkit to support the global announcement, including thought-provoking written and interactive visual content to establish Dove’s leadership, and created strong assets for consumer engagement. We then employed a unique media strategy to drive maximum impact, targeting only select, highly relevant publications in key markets.

Execution - how did we do it?

We used our trademark strengths to create the biggest awareness drive of any global beauty brand’s actions on plastic waste. We knew Dove was already making industry-leading progress – we just had to get its millions of consumers to realise it too, without attracting criticism.

Phase 1

The event we hosted was a first in Dove’s history: its first brand action-led event.

Held at 12th Knot, we gathered 120+ influencers from over 20 countries, and brought to life the three hero initiatives through the lens of the BETTER | LESS | NO PLASTIC framework.

Engaging panel discussions and Q&As were led by expert speakers including Unilever’s global plastics lead (Gavin Warner), Dove’s Global brand VP (Sophie Galvani), and co-founder of an activist anti-plastic NGO, Sian Sutherland, who spoke passionately about the value of this work.

We created prototypes of Dove’s innovations, which attendees were able to interact directly with, and incorporated interactive elements – from live illustration to bespoke GIFs for each initiative – to bring the story to life.

Phase 2

We took a unique approach to make sure this story landed with impact in all key markets.

To punch above our weight, we planned carefully for each piece to overperform on quality, penetration and engagement. This involved a comprehensive analysis of the plastics issue in every market: from social media conversation and consumer sentiment, to NGO and KOL activity. We then created a tailored media strategy for each, with titles selected for their specific target audience, editorial tone, credibility and influence.

On launch day we actively monitored the global media response with a comprehensive issues preparedness strategy and risk management protocol in place.

Our quality-focused approach delivered on both quality and quantity. We achieved record coverage and editorial impact figures and secured some of the brand’s strongest headlines to date on plastic.

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Dove Fights Plastic Waste Campaign

MullenLowe salt's brief was to engage key audiences to globally announce Dove’s new actions and commitments through earned channels with maximum impact, to act as a catalyst for wider industry change.