SBJ/Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Dove Men + Care steps back up to plate with MLB

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

Unilever personal care brand Dove Men + Care has signed an advertising partnership with MLB Advanced Media, extending its multiyear run of using sports as a key piece of its marketing strategy.

In the latest effort, Dove Men + Care video and display advertising will appear across MLB.com and team pages and during video segments, and will be connected to MLB.com-related social media extensions. The creative will feature fatherhood-related stories from players such as the Detroit Tigers' Torii Hunter, the Tampa Bay Rays' Ben Zobrist and the Chicago White Sox' Chris Sale.

Dove Men + Care several years ago conducted its first sports-related marketing through baseball, but since has become more synonymous with basketball and football through its high-profile “Journey to Comfort” segments featuring Magic Johnson, Dwyane Wade, Drew Brees and others. More recently, the brand has used former tennis star John McEnroe, and is sponsoring this fall’s New York City Marathon.

In each instance, Dove Men + Care is seeking to forge a more genuine depiction of adult males as opposed to veering toward the extremes of macho or clueless.

“There’s nobody talking to this group as real men with real issues,” said Rob Candelino, vice president of brand building for Unilever’s skin care business. “We’re offering what we believe to be a whole new narrative on how men are depicted in advertising, and it’s something we’re very proud of.”

The MLBAM partnership will roll out as a 10-week series, beginning this week and extending through the duration of the 2013 season, with each week featuring a new player. Videos and other content will be housed at MLB.com/DoveMenCare. MLBAM also is running its first national sweepstakes through the Instagram social media platform. Fans submitting their own father-son baseball photos can enter to win a trip to Opening Day next year.

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