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Why Dove campaigned to end forced haircuts in Thailand


By Awards Analyst, writer

December 8, 2022 | 6 min read

Edelman for Dove won at The Drum Awards PR 2022 for Best Integrated Campaign. Here, we find out how the agency executed the award-winning ‘Dove #LetHerGrow’ campaign.

#LetHerGrow Dove campaign

#LetHerGrow Dove campaign

In Thailand, students are still punished with forced haircuts that are having a detrimental impact on young girls’ confidence. With Dove’s brand mission to make beauty a source of confidence, Dove thought it was right to stand up for this violence and launch the ‘#LetHerGrow’ campaign.

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The brief

Despite the enforcement of haircut punishments being relaxed in recent years, Dove uncovered it was still a widespread practice. Based on the knowledge that 8 in 10 high school students and seven in 10 women said the haircuts had impacted their confidence Dove said it was time to end the practice.

The ambition was to stop the haircuts with a sustained initiative that would raise awareness but also take the time to educate and inform the next generation. The approach had to be about shifting perceptions and behaviors in a way that was constructive and debate-led.

The idea

The first step for Edelman was to gather different perspectives from parents, students, and teachers in Thailand to ensure Dove had the evidence to back its fight. Quantitative and qualitative insights revealed young girls were having their confidence stripped by the haircuts which lasted long after their hair had grown back. It was crucial to land the connection that a lack of confidence would impact a child’s future growth which would be counterintuitive as a punishment at school.

The strategy was to bring awareness to the unintended consequences of the practice and rally parents, students, and schools to end forced haircutting. The campaign combined education, creative content, earned media, influencer partnerships, and stakeholder engagement.

The campaign kicked off in time with a new semester with a guerrilla-style approach taking over the front pages of Thailand’s leading papers and eye-catching out-of-home boards. Edelman also created a QR code in the shape of a bob that could help direct audiences from offline to an online holding page where people could pledge their support.

The initial research was distributed to the press and a brand video was released along with a national press event that featured psychologists.

The results

#LetHerGrow generated more than 200 pieces of earned press coverage with a reach of more than 195 million. The brand film racked up more than 26 million views across various platforms and the press event was attended by over 50 media, influencers and stakeholders.

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The dedicated pledge page had a further 2,700 sign-ups. Prominent Thai officials publicly supported the movement with the assistant secretary general of the Basic Education Commission Mr Niphon Kongweha said: “The fact that Dove has come to organize this project is a great way to create awareness for the society.”

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for PR 2022. You can see all the winners here. The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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