By Barry Janoff
March 13, 2013: Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and the Miami Heat are running toward the NBA post-season in an attempt to defend the team's 2011-12 championship title.
But Wade has made a slight detour as the star of a Dove Men+Care campaign that will be part of the marketing landscape during the upcoming NCAA Div. I men's basketball tournament, which begins March 19 and culminates with the Final Four in Atlanta on April 6 and April 8.
Dove, a division of NCAA corporate partner Unilever, this week unveils two TV spots with Wade and his sons, plus two spots with ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas. Both men will also be part of a significant Internet and social media push, the latter with an element offering tickets to the 2014 men's Final Four in Cowboys Stadium in Texas.
The campaign, under the umbrella "Real Moments" theme, supports new Dove Men+Care face and hair products and new additions to existing personal wash and deodorant/antiperspirant lines.
Both Wade and Bilas, who have March Madness experience as players, with Marquette and Duke, respectively, incorporate their families in the humorous campaign. In Wade's TV and online spots we see him playing with his sons; Bilas is shown with his son and daughter.
The activation is a continuation of March Madness Dove Men+Care marketing efforts, which last year included Shaquille O'Neil, Steve Nash and Michigan State University head coach Tom Izzo in a "Journey to Comfort" theme.
Wade and Bilas also join a Dove Men+Care roster of athletes and coaches who have appeared in past campaign, such as Drew Brees, Albert Pujols, Joe Girardi, Andy Pettitte, Magic Johnson, John Thompson III, Bobby Hurley, Stewart Cink and Davis Love III.
The Wade and Bilas spots will air across March Madness broadcast networks CBS and Turner's TNT, TBS and truTV. Internet and social media buys include DoveMenCare.com, Facebook.com/DoveMenCareUS and Youtube.com/dovemencareus.
A dedicated Facebook page is hosting a consumer-driven "March Match-Ups" competition, in conjunction with NCAA marketing partner LG Electronics. Visitors are asked to pick the tools necessary to help determine which schools will make the tournament and then which schools will continue as the competition progresses. Dove is offering a variety of college hoops-related prizes (chicken wings, nachos, etc.), with a grand prize of tickets to the 2014 Final Four. (Full details here.)
The competition can also be accessed via mobile phone by texting "MATCHUP" to 693683 (message and data rates apply).
Lead agency is Davie Brown Entertainment, Los Angeles.
In Wade's "How to Stay In Shape," the all-star point guard explains, "How to stay in shape? Step 1: Gotta work those arms." The scene shows him seemingly lifting weights, but it turns out he's lifting one of his sons above his head and then throwing him into a backyard pool.
"Step 2: Keep those legs strong," Wade continues, which he does by getting into an inflatable bouncy house with his kids. "Step 3: Don't forget your bags," which turn out to be his sons hanging on his arms. (See the full spot here.)
In "How to Play Defense," Wade offers, "Step 1: Stay in front of your man," which sees Wade guarding his two sons in game of mini-ball. "Step 2: Always keep your hands up. Step 3: Don't be afraid to foul," which shows D-Wade tackling his sons. (See the full spot here.)
According to Wade, “The real moments in my Dove Men+Care campaign capture the joy and excitement my boys and I feel when we are all together. Being a father is the most rewarding aspect of my life and my children teach me, just as much as I teach them.”
Bilas is seen in two spots: "How to Prepare for the Big Dance," which entails getting his son ready for a real dance; and "How to Master the Drive," where he is seen teaching daughter to drive a car.
“This year during the Tournament, Dove Men+Care will showcase moments in men’s lives that really matter,” Rob Candelino, vp-Unilever Skincare, said in a statement. “When fans learn that playing ‘defense’ for Dwyane Wade means teaching his sons how to guard a mini-hoop in his living room, instead of a fellow player during a professional game, it hits home where men today place priority — caring for their family comes first.”
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