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Code My Crown

Dove

Brand Purpose | Technology | Research & Data Analytics

Campaign for Real Beauty takes on representation in the world of gaming: Dove has created “Code My Crown,” the world’s first guide training game developers on how to code for black hair styles and textures within games, enabling all players to confidently represent themselves in the digital world.

THE CHALLENGE

At a time when many brands are backtracking on their diversity and inclusion efforts, Dove’s commitment to real and tangible action on behalf of underrepresented women continues to set it apart. Dove had built deep trust with the Black community by advancing the CROWN Act, which helps protect against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles in America.

Using its hard-won credibility garnered across decades of action, Dove is pushing into new frontiers where representation is still a considerable challenge, and where empowerment and expression are still often suppressed and stifled.

The gaming industry is one of those frontiers. Unlike other forms of media and advertising, the gaming industry has been surprisingly slow to focus on increasing authentic representation of all women on its platforms — with a real impact on gamers’ ability to see or authentically express themselves in gameplay.

THE STRATEGY

We commissioned research to unpack the issue. It found that 85% of Black gamers say they feel underrepresented in video games, specifically when it comes to the depiction of their hair textures. This was confirmed in further qualitative research with game developers.

85% of Black gamers feel underrepresented in video games, specifically when it comes to the depiction of their hair textures. This was not a niche problem: 48% of game players identify as female, and 29% of game players are people of color. Additionally, 87% of Gen-Z (a critical growth audience for Dove) play games.

In an increasingly digitally native world, there are now millions of Black female gamers. We wanted to bring fresh, contemporary relevance to Dove’s mission — making beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety, for all women. With this initiative, gamers would see their identities more authentically mirrored in their avatars, affirming self-perception and confidence.

THE EXECUTION

We collaborated with Open Source Afro Hair Library and a team of Black 3D artists, animators, programmers, we created ‘Code my Crown’ - a 200-page downloadable guide including step-by-step instructions, 360-degree photo-mapping, and cultural insights to educate, inspire and train developers in how to create Black hairstyles in video games. The initiative offered the coding world the tools for more inclusive and representative gaming experiences, thereby allowing Black gamers to see their identities more authentically mirrored in their avatars.

The campaign was brought to life with a website, film, social content, gaming influencers and culminated with our lead developer speaking about it at Gamers Development Conference: the game industry's premier professional event, championing game developers and the advancement of their craft.

Finally, we engaged directly with major players in the gaming industry to incorporate the guide into their game development and employee training.

THE OUTCOME

The campaign resonated deeply with the gaming community, generating over 1.8 billion impressions with 100% positive or neutral sentiment. In addition to being included in Activision’s library, we are actively collaborating with various gaming studios to integrate the guide into their development processes. The campaign's impact is evident, with 95% of Black gamers agreeing that "the initiative has a positive impact on the gaming industry." Furthermore, 81% of Black gamers felt more connected with Dove, and there was a 32% increase in brand loyalty within the Black community.

95%

of Black gamers agree “the initiative has a positive impact on the gaming industry.”

81%

of Black Gamers said the initiative made them feel more connected with Dove.

32%

increase in brand Loyalty amongst Black community.