It’s the Hard Knock Life for Girls in Dove’s Super Bowl Ad

Dove‘s first body positivity spot in the Super Bowl in nearly 20 years will celebrate body confidence for girls in sports.

The ad, produced by ADWEEK’s Global Agency of the Year Ogilvy, puts on a spotlight on the stat that 45% of girls quit sports because of low body confidence.

The spot, titled “Hard Knocks,” begins with 15 seconds of girls taking hard hits or falls in sports, with each timed to the beat of the Broadway classic “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” from Annie. In the final 15 seconds, the message shifts to expose how girls drop out of sports because of low self-esteem associated with their bodies.

“From our research, we know that body confidence is the No. 1 reason girls are dropping out of sports,” said Greg Ross, chief operating officer of Unilever North America Personal Care. “As a champion of self-esteem for girls, Dove is committed to providing tools and resources like Body Confident Sport to help them stay confident in the activities that are important to them.”

Ogilvy wanted to bring to life the issue that “the emotional trauma young girls can face in a sporting environment, during a time when their body is changing, is sometimes greater than any physical knock they may sustain playing sports,” said Daniel Fisher, global ecd at Ogilvy.

The brand picked the song because it’s “an anthem for the resilient spirit; the song perfectly captures the struggle girls go through playing sports, while leaving the audience feeling hopeful,” Fisher said, adding that the spot is meant to entertain initially because they knew they couldn’t just lecture the audience with the message.

The brand is tapping several high-profile ambassadors to drive the campaign, including Kylie Kelce, who announced her involvement earlier this week, as well as 49ers legend (and now girls sports coach) Steve Young and his two daughters, Summer and Laila, as well as Venus Williams.

Dove’s ad is only one of a handful of Super Bowl ads that specifically target women and girls, despite the fact that women make up between 45% and 50% of the game’s audiences on any given year. With Taylor Swift’s connection to the game, the makeup of the audience should shift further, but brands have largely not adjusted their Super Bowl strategies to account for this.

For the latest Super Bowl 58 advertising news—who’s in, who’s out, teasers, full ads and more—check out Adweek’s Super Bowl 2024 Ad Tracker and the rest of our stories here. And join us on the evening of Feb. 11 for the best in-game coverage of the commercials.

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