By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor
March 14, 2011: Earvin "Magic" Johnson is remembered not only for his NBA Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles Lakers, but also a college career that included the 1978-79 NCAA national championship with Michigan State.
To coincide with the 2011 Men's Division I basketball tournament, NCAA corporate partner Unilever is unveiling a campaign for its Dove Men+Care brand that stars Johnson, Georgetown University head basketball coach John Thompson III and former Duke University point guard Bobby Hurley, who each reveal the "personal milestones that helped them become comfortable in their own skin – on and off the court."
The series, “Journey to Comfort,” will air throughout NCAA March Madness programming, which this season for the first time will be on four networks: CBS and Time Warner division Turner networks TBS, TNT and truTV. They also will run online at Web sites including Dovemencare.com, YouTube and the online properties of the four networks.
The Dove Men+Care campaign will also include the brand's first iAd for iPad, Apple’s mobile advertising platform.
In addition to supporting its alliance with the NCAA, the campaign will feature POP for the entire line of male grooming products from Dove Men+Care, including the launch of a line of Dove Men+Care antiperspirants/deodorants and sensitive clean personal wash.
Johnson, Thompson and Hurley join a roster of other sports stars who have appeared in Dove Men+Care “Journey to Comfort" marketing, including Drew Brees, Albert Pujols, Joe Girardi and Andy Pettitte.
“The ‘Journey to Comfort’ stories are about highlighting personal milestones that all men who are comfortable in their own skin can appreciate,” Rob Candelino, marketing director for personal wash U.S. at Unilever, said in a statement. “Our NCAA corporate partnership allows us to utilize NCAA March Madness in a fresh, new way for Dove Men+Care to connect with these men during an event they are already passionate about.”
In his segments, Magic talks about his dad, winning an NCAA championship, playing in the NBA, winning a gold medal in the Olympics and becoming a successful entrepreneur. Thompson and Hurley both reflect on what it was like growing up with legendary coaches as fathers and also establishing their own unique identities.
"Everything that I am as a man I got from my family," says Johnson in one of his spots. "My father had a trash hauling service. I had to work with him every day in the summertime. Kids would always tease you. 'Oh, there goes the trash man.' But my father was so confident and never even blinked an eye. So it made me stand tall. Because he stood tall." (See the spots here.)
According to Magic, “I believe becoming comfortable with yourself as a man is all about self-confidence. I can really relate to the Dove Men+Care ‘Journey to Comfort’ because it has truly been a journey for me having to find comfort in new roles throughout my life off the basketball court such as becoming an entrepreneur.”
In addition to the TV, print and online segments, consumers can win a trip to meet Johnson at a game in Los Angeles. Now through April 5, 201, people can play "Trivia Timeout" at the Dove Men+Care Web site or on their iPad or iPhone. By answering NCAA-themed questions, they will be entered into a sweepstakes dangling the grand prize of a meet-and-greet with Magic, tickets to the 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four in New Orleans, basketballs autographed by Johnson and other NCAA-related prizes. (Full details here.)
Sample multiple choice questions include: "In 2005's basketball tournament, who beat Chattanooga in the first round, 70-54?" (Wake Forest). And "Which school beat Illinois in the NCAA National Championship, 75-70, in the 2005 NCAA Basketball Tournament?" (North Carolina)
The Dove Men+Care iAd will also include extended stories from Johnson, Thompson and Hurley and a “Game Day Fan Zone,” which enables visitors to access daily game schedules.
Other support during the NCAA tournament action includes game times, team match-ups and fun facts at DoveMenCare on Twitter. The Twitter destination also offers opportunities to win collegiate team merchandise and tickets for movies and sporting events. People can also follow Johnson's Dove Men+Care “Journey to Comfort” during the tournament at his Twitter account.