#TheCROWNAct: How is this brand advocating for a more inclusive society for African-Americans? [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]
Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.
A Note from Miles Everson:
I love Guerrilla Marketing!
As someone who’s been in the business and consulting industry for 30+ years now, I enjoy encountering these kinds of campaigns because they remind me that expanding my brand’s reach doesn’t always have to be complicated.
In fact, Jay Conrad Levinson, the “Father of Guerrilla Marketing,” says these strategies are unconventional, engaging, easy to execute, and sometimes, inexpensive. They make a huge impact and easily stick to consumers’ minds.
Today, we’ll talk about an empowering digital guerrilla marketing campaign that started in 2019 in the US.
Keep reading to know how this brand’s strategy continues to change the way people define beauty and inspire different nationalities to show off their crowning glory to this day.
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute
Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing
Different people have different kinds of hair. According to an article published by Medline Plus, genetic factors play a major role in determining hair texture and the thickness of individual strands of hair.
Is it right to judge others based on the appearance of their hair, or simply because their hair looks “too extreme” or “too distracting?”
This campaign tells you it’s NOT.
Dove’s “As Early As Five” Campaign
As a personal care brand that promotes customers’ true and natural beauty, Dove advocates for embracing different kinds of “beautiful” in all places and institutions.
However, narrow standards make it difficult for African-Americans to freely celebrate their own beauty. According to the brand, society’s bias has resulted in unfair judgment and discrimination against this particular race.
There are even instances when African-Americans experience discrimination at school, work, or in other public places due to their hair texture and hairstyles, which include locs, braids, twists, etc.
What? That truly sounds unfair!
That’s why in 2019, Dove co-founded The CROWN Coalition to advance the anti-hair discrimination legislation called The CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act in the US.
This was in line with the brand’s research that showed:
- 53% of African-American mothers say their daughters experienced hair-related discrimination as early as 5 years old.
- An African-American woman is 80% more likely to change her natural hair to meet social norms at work.
- African-American women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from their workplaces because of their hair.
Through The CROWN Act, Dove communicated its mission to help advance efforts to end hair-based discrimination and create a more equitable and inclusive beauty experience for African-Americans.
What else did the brand do to raise awareness about its campaign?
Fueled by its research, Dove created a digital guerrilla marketing strategy in January 2021 with the help of marketing agencies Ogilvy and Swift. Through a short film on YouTube, the campaign team highlighted the real stories of those who experienced discrimination and bias in both schools and workplaces.
The “As Early As Five” video showed 3 scenarios experienced by an African-American girl—from grade school, high school, and into adulthood.
If you check out the film, you’ll see how the subject was often sent home from school, dismissed from work, and rejected as a job applicant because her hair looks “too extreme,” “too distracting,” and “too attention-getting.”
The campaign video might even move you to tears! It would make you realize that discrimination is real, so we have to step up and make a conscious, collective effort to stop these kinds of injustice.
The link of the YouTube video was also posted on Dove’s official Twitter account to reach more online users, particularly millennials, in different parts of the world.
As the short film spread, the hashtag, #TheCROWNAct was eventually created and those who posted about the campaign used the tag to reach more people online.
Was Dove’s “As Early As Five” campaign effective?
Through the campaign, Dove raised awareness for The CROWN Act initiative and sparked a sense of urgency among parents, school administrators, and advocates to sign The CROWN Act petition and make hair-based discrimination illegal in the US.
Below are the results of the digital guerrilla marketing campaign:
- As of 2022, The CROWN Act is in law in 14 states and 34 municipalities in the US, and The CROWN Act petition has collected over 430,000 signatures.
- The “As Early As Five” video garnered a total of 180,000+ views and 1,300+ shares on YouTube.
- The hashtag, #TheCROWNAct, became a trending topic for a week on Twitter in January 2021. Even African-American celebrities saw the ad, signed the petition, and talked about the campaign on social media.
- The campaign video was featured on various media outlets such as FOX TV, PBS News, BET, Essence, EBONY, etc.
- In 2022, the “As Early As Five” campaign became part of eslogan Magazine’s “Best Commercials of 2022.”
Until now, Dove’s campaign is in the works and according to Aisha Ford, director of the campaign video, the brand will continue to use the marketing strategy to help advance The CROWN Act and inspire African-Americans to unapologetically embrace who they truly are.
Well done, Dove, Ogilvy, and Swift!
One of the things you can learn from Dove’s digital guerrilla marketing strategy is that powerful storytelling is important. In the case of the “As Early As Five” campaign, it effectively conveys its message and opens the public’s eyes about the things we should change to move forward as a society.
… and take note! Dove’s campaign video didn’t really seem like an ad for the brand.
Instead of showing a Dove product somewhere in the short film, the brand simply narrated the story of the girl and let the ad speak for itself—that as a personal care brand, Dove isn’t only after caring for people’s outward appearance but also for their emotions, mental health, etc.
Get inspired with today’s guerrilla marketing spotlight!
Keep in mind that as a business owner or marketer, you shouldn’t just use your brand to earn profits and attract consumers; you must also use it as a platform to make a positive impact in society.
As you do that, your target market will eventually see and feel your genuine care for them, and that can produce positive results in terms of your brand’s sales, engagement rates, and more.
Besides, who wouldn’t want to choose a brand that operates with a genuine purpose?
So, think outside the box… and like Dove, start planning your own captivating and empowering marketing strategies AS EARLY AS NOW!
(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”
Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”
Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.
Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.
Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.
This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.
It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).
Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.
The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.
Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.
This is every business’ or brand’s dream!
Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.
Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.
Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.
Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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