Dove and Wendy’s battle ageism
Dove and Wendy’s in Canada have both launched campaigns against ageism in support of a beloved Canadian news anchor who was relieved of her duties, allegedly for letting her hair go gray.
Last week, Dove Canada launched a #KeepTheGrey campaign across its social networks, urging people to change their profile pics to greyscale in support of those who choose to embrace their gray hair.
“Age is beautiful. Women should be able to do it on their own terms, without any consequences,” the post read. Dove also donated $100,000 to Catalyst, an organization advocating for inclusive workplaces for women.
Wendy’s on its Canada Twitter account swapped Wendy’s red pigtails for a gray shade. The accompanying comment read, “Because a star is a star regardless of hair colour.”
Sports Illustrated retweeted its cover that featured 74-year-old model Maye Musk, the mother of Elon Musk.
Lisa LaFlamme, 58, was relieved of her duties in mid-August after a 35-year career with CTV news, the last 11 as an anchor. Social media erupted after a Globe and Mail report indicated management had questioned Ms. LaFlamme’s decision to stop dying her hair blond during the pandemic.
Bell Media, CTV’s parent company, said it wanted to shift in a “different direction” and denied Ms. LaFlamme’s hair color had anything to do with her exit.
Dove’s execution was praised because the stance aligned with the brand’s long-running “Real Beauty” platform. However, retail consultant Bruce Winder said brands that take a stand on hot-button issues, such as ageism and sexism, may come off as appearing opportunistic and expose themselves to scrutiny from consumers. He told CBC, “You better make sure your house is in order before you start throwing this out there.”
It’s also uncertain how campaigns around ageism will resonate with consumers. The 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study found the top issues consumers wanted companies to help solve were job development, 94 percent; racial equality, 87 percent; women’s rights, 84 percent; cost of higher education, 81 percent; immigration, 78 percent; climate change, 76 percent; gun control, 65 percent; and LGBTQ rights, 64 percent.
- Age is beautiful. – Twitter/Dove Canada
- A star is a star – Twitter/Wendy’s Canada
- Lisa LaFlamme ‘going grey’ questioned by CTV executive, says senior company official – Globe and Mail
- Dove launches ‘keep the grey’ campaign to call out workplace ageism after Lisa LaFlamme firing – Toronto Star
- Here’s why Wendy’s in Canada has given its iconic red-headed mascot gray hair – CNN
- Dove #KeepTheGrey Campaign Is a Brilliant Example of How to Show Up – Adweek
- Dove goes grey to help women age on their own terms – Strategy Online
- Brand campaigns going grey in support of LaFlamme could backfire, say experts – CBC
- 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study – Cone Communications
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Dove and Wendy’s recent campaigns around ageism as timely, opportunistic or risky? Where do you see ageism ranking as an issue for brands to openly support and build campaigns around?