Dove Men+Care is promoting its new Sportcare range with a campaign featuring Chris Paul, Sean Williams and Alvin Suarez — but they’re not the men you think.
The brand launched its sports line of body and face wash, shampoo and conditioner, dry spray and deodorant and tapped three men who share names with popular athletes to front the ad campaign. But these men are far from average joes. Dove partnered with ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi to help tell each athlete’s story on Tuesday.
“You look at stuff and say, ‘Where can I identify?’ and for me I could immediately identify with this,” said Negandhi. Like these three men, Negandhi is a father and he said that he could relate more to the men featured in the campaign than with the athletes he reports on every day.
Paul, a Marine Corps veteran and real estate agent, turned to fitness to enhance his life and keep up with his family. He is a father of seven and joked that he will be “deep into senior citizenship” when his youngest son graduates from high school. This motivated him to be more active in his everyday life.
“I owe it to my son, my family, my wife, and then also just about good living, eating healthy and being fit,” Paul said.
Suarez grew up visually impaired, but did not let that stop his competitive spirit that grew through Goalball, a sport for the visually impaired that requires ear-hand coordination. He balances his “boring office day job” with an active life and his legally blind Latin band. His twin daughters are his motivation and he explores his passions “to represent myself for my daughters.”
“I want them to grow up and be the strongest women they can be,” he said. “I want to raise my young girls to not only be strong and empowered for their communities that they’re going to represent, but also want them to know women have choices.”
Williams was an athlete in his youth, but after graduating college, found himself sitting behind the desk too often. He is a creative director for a retail company on Long Island and became a volunteer firefighter in order to not get complacent at his job. He also started The Dad Gang to remove the negative stigmas and stereotypes around black fathers. Like Paul and Suarez, Williams was motivated by his children to be more active.
“My alarm clocks wake me up — which is my two children, and they get up pretty early,” he said. “I actually started volunteering when I became a dad for the second time, because I spent 10 years behind the computer. I wasn’t very active, but when my kids came I wanted them to see me do more than just sit behind the desk. I wanted to give to the community, I wanted to find some balance.”
In regards to sharing names with popular athletes, Suarez said he grew prouder seeing baseball and soccer players with his last name, and Paul said, “I get it all the time. I joke about it, but it’s a positive association.”
The three men first met at the campaign shoot in July and quickly formed a bond through their active lives and fatherhood. When Negandhi met the trio over dinner this week, they all immediately clicked and the laughs continued on Tuesday. Suarez shared that his daughters steal his shampoo, which the other men laughed at heartily, and Negandhi and Williams joked about the lack of skin care, hair care and fragrance products for men. “It’s not always musk,” Williams said.
They’re also excited to be breaking the stereotypes of what it means to be a man and an athlete. “Hygiene should be at the top of the list of what a man is. To have a fragrance aligned with masculinity is really important and it’s definitely changing the definition of what is a man’s man,” said Williams.
Suarez added, “There are stereotypes of what a man is supposed to be, there are stereotypes of what a great athlete is. We’re all great athletes here. We’re not going to be on any kind of record book, we’re not going to be on a Wheaties box but our faces will be part of something really genuine.”
Paul reeled everyone in with a personal story about when he felt he failed as a man. “The whole notion of manhood is most acute when I look backwards and realize I failed. Like I wasn’t there for an event or I had my wife just change a few too many diapers.
“I grew up in a very working-class family and [was] raised to have a brutal work ethic, and I think some ways that served me well. But when I was self-employed, I remember calling home and I said I put in a 15-hour day today and he said, ‘Good for you.’ And that was one of those wake-up calls for that wasn’t too good for everybody else in my family.”
He continued about the cost of losing time with loved ones and losing touch with friends and family and your children “barely know who you are.”
“You go to pick them up to soothe them when they’re crying and they cry harder. Part of my journey is this pretty hard pivot I’ve had to take in my mind where I cannot just be passive about my friendships with people and my connectedness,” he said.