As Early As Five: Poignant Dove ad raises awareness of race-based hair discrimination

As Early As Five: Poignant Dove ad raises awareness of race-based hair discrimination

The campaign follows new research from Dove showing the alarmingly early stage at which Black girls experience hair discrimination—as early as five years of age.

Dove has released a new US campaign inspired by the many real stories of children and adults who have experienced hair discrimination and bias in schools and the workplace.

The campaign, created by WPP agencies Ogilvy and Swift with valuable consultant input from JOY Collective, is part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to take action, raise awareness and lead on the issue of race-based hair discrimination. Dove also advocates for the passing of The CROWN Act—legislation to make race-based hair discrimination illegal in all 50 US states.

The campaign follows new research from Dove showing the alarmingly early age at which Black girls experience hair discrimination in schools.

The ‘Dove 2021 CROWN Research Study for Girls’ study reveals that 53% of Black mothers in the US, whose daughters have experienced hair discrimination, say their daughters experienced the discrimination as early as 5 years old, and approximately 86% of Black teens who experience discrimination have endured it by the age of 12.

The “As Early As Five” campaign centres on a film which depicts three scenarios of race-based hair discrimination experienced by a girl starting in elementary school aged five, in high school and into adulthood—all inspired by real life events.

The film is directed by writer/director Aisha. In an introductory video accompanying the film, Aisha explains the inspiration behind the film, saying: “With this film, I wanted to tell a story about a Black woman going on a journey and staying rooted in her self love about her hair that her father taught her.”

With the campaign, Dove aims to spark urgency in parents, school administrators and advocates to sign The CROWN Act petition.

The campaign launched on January 25th with a PR and social influencer campaign, followed by the launch of the online film on 1st February.

Daniel Fisher, Ogilvy global executive creative director Unilever and Special Projects, WPP, says of the work, “It’s impossible to indicate how important work like this is and that it is presented in creative and powerful ways to share a clear message. Showing this story and knowing how it will be recognised by so many people is a delicate balance. Aisha’s beautiful direction and lead on this work gives me hope that more organizations and educational establishments will do the right thing and sign the CROWN Act petition.”

Alessandro Manfredi, Dove’s global executive vice president said: “As Early As Five is a continuation of Dove’s longstanding efforts to contest harmful beauty standards. Dove believes Black women and girls should have the freedom to wear their hair how they choose without the fear of job loss or education. As CROWN Coalition co-founders committed to ending race-based hair discrimination nationwide, we’ll continue to take action to help protect the 2.3 million children nationwide who are most vulnerable to race-based hair discrimination and are currently unprotected by the law”.


Creative & Production – Ogilvy & Swift
PR/Earned Strategy
– Edelman
Advocacy & Creative Consultation
– JOY Collective
Paid Media
– Mindshare
Influencer Strategy
– Collectively

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