SBJ/March 17-23, 2014/Colleges

Dove spotlights Villanova’s Jay Wright in ‘Easy Decisions’

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

Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright, wearing a black pinstripe suit, looks intently at the two bottles of body wash put before him. With all of the intensity of a Villanova huddle in the final seconds of a tense NCAA tournament game, Wright examines both bottles and selects the Dove Men+Care product.

As decisions go for the coach of the Big East regular-season champions, that one was pretty easy, and that’s exactly the message Dove hopes to send in its new March Madness-themed commercials called “Easy Decisions.”

Wright’s 30-second TV spot is part of a new campaign that launches this week and will run through the NCAA tournament. Unilever worked with BBH, New York, on the creative.

Dove Men+Care’s parent company, Unilever, has been an NCAA partner since 2011 and its previous ad campaigns have featured March Madness personalities such as ESPN analyst Jay Bilas in how to prepare for the Big Dance and Georgetown coach John Thompson III, among many others, talking about “being comfortable in my own skin.”

“We want to keep what has been powerful — Jay is a father, a family man and a talented coach,” said Rob Candelino, vice president of marketing at Unilever, who also plugged Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel into a similar but separate commercial. “He’s also a decision-maker in his job and we wanted to put him in that position of choosing between two products.”

Wright’s “Easy Decisions” spot is central to Dove Men+Care’s March Madness marketing, but there also will be digital extensions on Bleacher Report, ESPN.com and Grantland.

Dove, which works with Mindshare ESP, a division of GroupM ESP, on its NCAA activation and strategy, stepped up to sponsor National Bracket Day on Monday, the day between Selection Sunday and Tuesday, the first day of the tournament.

Central to that will be on-site activation in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, where Dove will set up kiosks in high-traffic areas for fans to participate in a bracket challenge. Bleacher Report software will enable fans to create profiles for their brackets, such as all upsets or all favorites, and the software will plug in the teams.

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