Social Impact & Sustainability | Influencer Marketing | Brand
A longstanding tradition in Thailand's school system was having a significant impact on students' confidence. To raise awareness and advocate for change, Dove's #LetHerGrow integrated campaign focused on creating a future where Thai students can grow into the greatest version of themselves.
For decades, Thai schools have enforced a practice of punishing students with forced haircuts. While some believe these restrictive rules maintain order and teach discipline to younger generations, others see them as an infringement on students' rights to make their own hair choices. In fact, through extensive research, we learned that 8 in 10 secondary school students, and 7 in 10 young women reported that forced haircuts have a negative impact on their self-confidence, highlighting the emotional toll this practice takes on them.
With Dove’s mission to make beauty a source of confidence, we set out with the ambition to end these confidence-cutting, forced haircuts with a sustained initiative that would not only raise awareness of the persisting issue, but also take action to educate, inform and positively impact the future of the next generation.
Amidst a Thai population that’s divided on the issue, we needed to explore and evaluate how we would tackle this challenge of shifting perceptions and behaviors in a way that would spark constructive dialogue and debate.
We developed a rallying call, #LetHerGrow, to unite people in ending this toxic practice and creating a future where students can grow into the greatest version of themselves. By leveraging this shared value and raising awareness of the unintended consequences of forced haircuts, we successfully galvanized widespread support and encouraged people to stand in solidarity with the cause.
Together, we can make a positive impact on the lives of students and create a better future for the next generation by removing the toxic practice and social norms of forced haircuts in Thai schools.
The initiative was launched at the start of the school semester, and our integrated campaign leveraged human insight, impactful content, strategic media buys, earned media, influencer partnerships, and stakeholder engagement.
To inform the initiative, we partnered with Dr. Jiraporn Arunakul, a Thai-based self-esteem and child psychology expert. We captured attention through a guerrilla-style approach, including front-page takeovers, eye-catching out-of-home (OOH) displays, and a distinct QR symbol. We released research findings in an earned media blitz and an emotional brand film.
Our advocacy efforts included a national press event and influencer partnerships to further the discussion and call for solidarity, and we established a long-term commitment to ending forced haircuts through The Growth Fund, which will direct resources toward research, education, and advocacy. Through these efforts, Dove galvanized support to create a future where students can grow into their best selves.
Launched in May 2022, the results quickly demonstrate substantial impact for building awareness of the issue and Dove’s work to impact change, while also garnering public and institutional support. Highlights below:
- Drove positive word of mouth with not only the public, but also influential KOLs such as Srettha Thavisin, CEO of Sansiri
- Engaged more than 50 media, influencers and stakeholders at the national press event, which was covered by broadcast, print, online and social outlets with earned reach of more than 66 million.
- Prompted education officials to address the issue and support the initiative: “The fact that Dove has come to organize this project is a great way to create awareness for the society," — Mr. Niphon Kongweha, Assistant Secretary General of the Basic Education Commission.
- Following our campaign, in January 2023 the Ministry of Education made a formal announcement with headlines on mass national media declaring, “Ministry lifts ‘unfair’ rules on hairstyles2” – calling for an end to forced haircuts, for good.