Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 2
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Forty Under 40

Rob Candelino feels a connection as he listens to Magic Johnson, Joe Girardi, John Elway and others tell their stories in the Dove Men+Care brand’s Journey to Comfort ad campaign. Thirty-eight years old, with a demanding job, a toddler at home and another child on the way, he enjoys hearing the familiar athletes tell unfamiliar stories that are less about their sports than themselves, explaining why they’re comfortable in their “own skin.”

“This cross-section of athletes or icons across sports telling real stories about how they became real men and real dads — that’s powerful,” said Candelino, who ran the Dove brand beginning in 2010 and now is vice president of marketing at Dove parent Unilever, where he started as an intern 16 years ago. “This is the first time in my career where my professional life has collided so perfectly with my personal life.

“I am that guy. I’ve reached that point in my life. I’m not going to be a professional athlete or rock star or fireman or astronaut. I sell soap and lotion and some face cream. And I’m a good husband and dad. I try, at least. And I’m comfortable with that.”

Now in its third year, featuring 14 players and coaches from baseball, football and basketball, the Journey to Comfort campaign plays off research showing that 73 percent of men feel they are stereotyped or falsely portrayed in advertising. Candelino set to craft spots featuring sports figures that guys admired breaking that mold.

Girardi talked about wearing braces to make his daughter feel more comfortable about hers. Elway talked about embarrassing his kids with his goofy dance moves. Shaquille O’Neal talked about being made fun of as a child because of his name. Candelino is convinced the campaign has been a pivot point for how men are depicted in ads.

“Guys talk to each other about sports and about their jobs, but that’s not the only thing we think about,” Candelino said. “We think about things like being a good dad, and about work-life balance. I want to get home in time to bathe my son and I want to be a good husband. But I run a big business with 13 brands. How do you do all that well, or as well as you can? Guys don’t talk to other guys about this stuff. And I think we need to.”

— Bill King

Age: 38
Title: Vice president, marketing
COMPANY: Unilever
EDUCATION: Honours Bachelor of Commerce, University of Guelph
FAMILY: Wife, Carolyn; son, Christopher (20 months)
CAREER: All at Unilever, starting as an intern; in current role since last year
FIRST JOB: My best friend’s dad owned a pizza place. When I was 9, I washed dishes, scrubbed floors and helped make pizza dough for $25 a week and free pizza.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Attitude determines attitude.
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Energetic. Glass half full. Comfortable in my own skin. Optimistic and happy.
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: Pride, gratitude and a bit overwhelmed. I’m a small-town kid from Canada; now I run Dove in America. That’s such a privilege.
PET PEEVE: Bad coffee.
GUILTY PLEASURE: A good pizza.
FANTASY JOB: If I were to be in a big civic role, like helping to bring the Olympics to Toronto or … a (NFL) franchise to the city, that’s really interesting to me.
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “What did you do for Paulie? Anything? Three years. Did you give me a job? This! You gave me a lousy, stinkin’ Ex-Lax watch!” (“Rocky III”)