Canadian-made Dove self-esteem initiatives begin global rollout

The new viral films and interactive tools will be introduced in Toronto today at the first Dove Self-Esteem Fund Summit.

The Dove Self-Esteem Fund’s goal of positively affecting the lives of 5 million girls globally by the year 2010 is set to get yet another boost today at a unique summit. A highlight of the event will be the unveiling of two new viral films and a range of interactive resources developed in Canada and set for translation into multiple languages for use on a global level.

Converging in Toronto to discuss the initiative will be a group of experts in the fields of media literacy and self-esteem, news media reps and other influencers, plus some of the young girls who are the intended beneficiaries of Unilever’s ambitious project.

Created by Toronto’s Ogilvy & Mather, the films are aimed at raising awareness of both the fund and the new resources. They are meant to further the impact of the Cannes Grand Prix-winning ‘Evolution’ spot by provoking discussion on the topics of body image, beauty pressures and self-esteem.

One of the videos is titled ‘Onslaught.’ It condenses a year’s worth of beauty pressure into one minute and juxtaposes the innocence of seven-year-old girls and the avalanche of subtle influences and overt suggestions that can make them believe they’re not good enough. The other is ‘Amy,’ which shows how hard girls can be on themselves, and is designed to be passed along to young girls by people who love them. The film has a unique twist that allows it to be personalized for each recipient.

The interactive tools include:

• A first-ever ‘girls-only’ self-esteem website to help those aged 11-16 explore beauty, body image and self-esteem in an interactive and inviting environment;

• A dedicated section of the website containing activities for mothers and mentors to engage in with the young girls in their lives;

• A pilot ‘Girls for Girls Mentor Program,’ launched this year at Henry Street High School in Whitby, Ont., which brings older and younger students together to discuss self-esteem issues;

• Online ‘Tools for Teachers,’ designed to help facilitate in-class discussion around all of the fund’s videos.

Toronto’s Bing Creative, a design firm specializing in visual communications targeting women, developed the online girls’, moms’ and mentors’ activities in partnership with self-esteem experts as well as teens and tweens.

Toronto-based Harbinger organized the summit and is handling PR for the new initiatives. Web firm 58Ninety was responsible for the redesign of the global website, while Toronto’s Capital C is leading various web-based initiatives, including viral outreach strategy and online executions, to support the campaign. Both agencies are based in Toronto, as is PHD Canada, which is doing media buys including interactive SMS technology-based transit ads, washroom communication in select Canadian schools and various online executions to drive the viral nature of the films. As well, PHD is placing expert-advice columns by self-esteem expert Lisa Naylor (with coordination by Harbinger) in mom-friendly publications.

‘We are very proud of the initiatives we are launching and truly believe they will continue helping young girls understand they don’t have to conform to an unrealistic definition of beauty,’ explains Alison Leung, marketing manager for the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. ‘Plus, we couldn’t be more pleased with the fact that all of these activities and the films were created here in Toronto and will ultimately make a positive impact globally.’

All tools and resources, including the new online videos, can be viewed at