When workplace ageism and sexism became a major media story in Canada, Dove quickly mobilized to take a stand on this issue with with a social-first approach using the hashtag #KeepTheGrey.
The abrupt dismissal of Lisa LaFlamme, a renowned Canadian news anchor, presumably over her decision to keep her hair color grey sparked outrage and highlighted the double standard for grey hair in the workplace. Dove, committed to promoting gender equality and challenging narrow beauty standards, felt a responsibility to stand up for women facing age-based discrimination.
This intersectional issue of ageism and sexism lacks adequate legal protection, and so, we were challenged to develop a campaign to not only generate awareness of grey hair discrimination, but also drive long-term change.
Firstly, Dove wanted to show solidarity, and we turned its iconic gold logo grey, making a large, visible statement to start a social movement against women being aged out of the workplace for choosing to wear their hair grey. Social images showcased older women with naturally grey hair, in a greyscale color scheme and supported by the new grey Dove logo and hashtag #KeepTheGrey. The campaign was launched on all of Dove's social media platforms, with a call to action for others to join in by changing their profile picture greyscale.
Influencers were also engaged across social platforms, and paid media plans were developed to amplify brand assets. Through this social-first approach, we encouraged audiences to join the movement by turning their profile pictures to greyscale, and as a result, we sparked a social movement against ageism and sexism in the workplace.
To further support the cause, Dove donated $100,000 to Catalyst, a Unilever global partner dedicated to advancing women in the workplace.
This campaign drove unmatched talkability as the most covered campaign in the history of Dove Canada. Edelman Data & Intelligence (DXI) developed a consumer impact report, where overall results proved very positive:
90% of campaign viewers felt #KeepTheGrey brought attention to an important topic that needs to be discussed
61% of campaign viewers are more likely to purchase Dove
89% of campaign viewers found the campaign gave them a good impression of Dove
83% of campaign viewers would like to see more work like this from Dove
In response to the overwhelming social and media support, Dove became the first-ever beauty and CPG brand offered a seat on the Ontario Human Rights Commission board in order to continue fighting for women’s rights and ending ageism in Canada.
The campaign received extensive local news coverage, with every major Canadian broadcast news channel, from national to local, reporting on it. The Toronto Star, Canada's most widely read newspaper, also printed a story about it.
pieces of UGC were shared
On Twitter, #KeepTheGrey trended and positively pivoted the conversation with profile pictures changed and grey hair selfies shared, with the hashtag reaching 15% of the Canadian population.
The campaign's popularity inspired well-known brands such as Wendy’s and Sports Illustrated to join the conversation, turning their logos grey.