Dove Men+Care to debut documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Ron and Bryce Dallas Howard (CNW Group/Dove Men+Care)
Ron and Bryce Dallas Howard (CNW Group/Dove Men+Care)
The film, created in partnership with Imagine Documentaries, will premiere this Friday at the festival, and promises to depict a contemporary perspective on parenthood as it’s experienced by men around the world. The larger aim of the Unilever brand here is to “make paternity leave an option for every dad.”

Dove has (at least since the launch of its Real Beauty marketing campaign in 2004) been known as a brand that understands the social import and power of consumer brands today. The Dove Men brand launched in 2010 and in February of this year launched The Pledge for Paternity Leave.

“By supporting this important initiative, our goal is to increase utilization rates of paid paternity leave for those men who have access to it and encourage other companies to come together and offer men paid paternity leave so they can take the time to care for their families,”​ Nick Soukas, VP of skin cleansing and baby care for Unilever, told the press in February.

Parenting roles are changing slowly

“The role of fatherhood has evolved, but there's still a long way to go,” ​says Carlos Javier Gil, global brand vice president of Dove Men+Care, in today’s media release about the documentary film. “From our global research,” ​he says, “we know 85% of dads said that they would do anything to be more involved after their child is born, and yet less than half of fathers took as much time as their country's policy allowed.​”

Dove teamed up with the Brazil-based organization known as Promundo to gather data on paternity leave. “Promundo is,” ​according to the organization’s own site, “a global leader in promoting gender justice and preventing violence by engaging men and boys in partnership with women and girls.”

The Promundo data shows that in Canada “62% of fathers felt that their family finances will be very negatively affected if they took their allocated leave;”​ and in the US where there is no nationally guaranteed, paid parental leave for anyone, “just 15% of male and female workers have access to paid leave through their employer.”

Making a film to shift perception

“Whether due to an absence of policy, or a disincentive from their employers or peers, fathers are not being given opportunities or support to spend quality time at home with their children,” ​states the Dove press release about the DADS film debut.

To remedy this, the brand is using documentary film to change minds and proceeds to change people’s options. “The DADS film champions a new societal narrative around involved fatherhood,”​ explains Soukas, who goes on to say that “Having just become a first-time father myself and enjoying the first few months at home with my child, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of these ongoing conversations. We need to open the line of communication for all dads and allies, so we can make federally-provided paid paternity leave the new standard for all dads in the US.”

Beyond sharing and showing ideas on screen, Dove is also sharing profits for the cause:“To show our commitment, 100% of profits made from the DADS film will be donated to our Paternity Leave Fund to support dads worldwide who lack access to take paid paternity leave,” ​Gil tells the press.



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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