Dove’s pro-age campaign to tread the boards

In what's got to be a first for a marketing theme, Dove's 'real beauty' campaign is being turned into a stage play.

Once again, the team that brought Canada international glory at this year’s Cannes Advertising Festival is thinking outside the (advertising) box – morphing Dove’s campaign to change perceptions of beauty and aging into a stage play.

Next April, the as-yet-unnamed play will debut at Toronto’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts. On stage will be a dozen ‘real’ women, with nary a model or professional actress among them. The unorthodox cast will speak lines now being worked on by renowned Canadian playwright Judith Thompson – all to further the philosophy behind the pro-age line, which launched in Canada this spring.

The idea of doing a play was conceived by Unilever’s international AOR, Ogilvy & Mather. Toronto-based agency Capital C created a website to provide ongoing updates on the progress of the play and – in a brilliant viral touch – to house an online ‘Dear Body Audition Kit’ (created by Ogilvy). The virtual kit contains everything women across the country need to gather friends, share their feelings on beauty and aging and even compose their own audition letters. These submissions will be posted on the site to showcase the views Canadian women have about their bodies.

Toronto-based PHD is pursuing targeted online advertising to drive consumers to the website (with execution by Capital C). Meanwhile, Toronto’s Harbinger will handle PR, including generating editorial media coverage and word of mouth in support of audition parties and the play itself.

Canadian Living magazine is collaborating with PHD and Ogilvy to provide editorial support, advertising space in the magazine and special features about the play on its website. This initiative will launch in October and conclude with the April 2008 issue. Additional advertising in support of the play will run in More, Homemakers, Madame and Coup de Pouce.