A media campaign advocating for the freedom of Thai students to choose how to wear their hair has won an award at the Cannes Lions, the “Oscars of advertising”.
The “Let Her Grow” campaign won a Bronze award in the Health and Wellness category at the media industry event in France this week. The campaign was sponsored by Dove Thailand, part of the international consumer products group Unilever, and developed by the media agency Edelman.
The Health and Wellness Lions celebrate creativity in the field of consumer healthcare and personal wellbeing, according to the Cannes organisers.
Edelman said the longstanding tradition of hairstyle regulation in Thailand’s school system was having a significant impact on students’ confidence.
“Through extensive research, we learned that 8 in 10 secondary school students, and 7 in 10 young women reported that forced haircuts have a negative impact on their self-confidence, highlighting the emotional toll this practice takes on them,” it said.
“Dove turned the iconic school bob into a powerful symbol for change,” it said. “It was a rallying call, inviting everyone to stand together in ending confidence-cutting forced haircuts for good, and to create a future where students can grow into the greatest version of themselves.”
The “Let Her Grow” video was broadcast widely on mass-market TV stations last year, and has also been viewed 4.6 million times on YouTube to date.
The campaign also had social media and print components, while also reaching out to key opinion leaders in numerous fields to get involved in the conversation.
Edelman said the campaign helped widen the public debate about student hairstyles that ultimately resulted in the Ministry of Education in January lifting its restrictions on how schools manage rules on hairstyles.
From now on, the ministry said, it would allow each school to formulate their own policy, with student input if they wish.