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Special Project

Special Project

Code My Crown

Entered in Business to Business, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion



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 toset it apart. It 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 expressthemselves in gameplay.


For digital-natives, representation in gaming is as crucial as representation in real life. But what could Dove could do about the lack of representation in gaming? Afterall, Dove makes hair, skin and beauty products. It doesn’t develop games. Research showed that 74% of developers would play a role in promoting better representation of textured hair in video games – if they could learn how to code textured Black hair.


We collaborated with Open Source Afro Hair Library and a team of Black 3D artists, animators, programmers to create ‘Code my Crown’ - a 200-page downloadable guide training developers in how to code for Black hairstyles. 15 original hair sculpts laid the foundation for hundreds of virtual hair possibilities, offering the coding world the tools and ability to create more inclusive and representative gaming experiences. Gamers would see their identities more authentically mirrored in their avatars, affirming self-perception and confidence.




Dove 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. In an increasingly digital world, this was not a niche problem: 48% of game players identify as female, and 29% of game players are people of colour.

Additionally, 87% of Gen-Z say they play games, a critical growth audience for Dove. It meant that in an increasingly digital-native world, in which there were now millions of Black female gamers, Black representation could no longer be considered a niche problem.The underrepresentation of Black hair textures and styles in gaming presented an opportunity for Dove to bring fresh, contemporary relevance to its mission to make beauty a source ofconfidence, not anxiety, for all women.


First, we facilitated a partnership with celebrity natural hair stylists and OSAHL to guide development and amplify the campaign. We worked with Open Source Afro Hair Library and a team of Black 3D artists, animators, programmers, and academics to develop 15 original hair sculpts that laid the foundation for hundreds of virtual hair possibilities. Each sculpt comes with step-by-step instructions, 360-degree photo mapping, and cultural insight so that any developer can better model and represent textured hair and styles in the digital world. We developed this into a downloadable 200-page guide for programmers worldwide.The campaign was brought to life with a website, film, social content, gaming influencers and culminated with our lead developer speaking about it at GDC.

And lastly, we engaged with major players in the gaming industry (Ubisoft, Undead Labs andActivision) to incorporate the guide into their game development and employee training after direct engagement.



Top gaming companies Ubisoft, Undead Labs, Activision incorporating it into development processes - total reach 34,000 employees serving 229 million gamers globally.

Brand improvement: sparking cultural relevance by solving a real problem for a community

.• 1.81B+ impressions (benchmark: 900m) with 100% positive/neutral sentiment

• Engagement rate of 22.90%, outperforming our benchmark of 4.30% by +432%

• Super charged brand relevance: 81% of Black Gamers said the initiative made them feel moreconnected with Dove

• 37% Black gamers and 37% Black Community said Dove is the only brand they would consider buying after seeing the Code My Crown initiative (+7 and +9pts respectively).

Societal change: advancing representation in gaming:

• 2,691 guide downloads to-date

• 95% of Black gamers agree “the initiative has a positive impact on the gaming industry.”

• Over 90% feel it has a positive impact on society overall (95% Black Gamers, 92% Black Community).


Video for Code My Crown

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Edelman, Dove/Unilever


Entry Credits