For the past month I have been working on the D&AD brief for Rexona. The brief asks to create an inspiring idea to get the world moving. Focusing on men and women aged between 13 and 25. When I first saw the brief I was really excited, I thought it was a perfect opportunity for me as contemporary dancer to elaborate on this idea more. Then I realised that the brief isn’t much different from what professional dancers and dance teachers struggle with. How do we get more people to dance? Most of the people feel embarrassed to dance in public, as common belief states that dancing requires a set of skills and that only trained people can dance. Thinking about this stereotype I have a quote in my mind by Howard Phillips Lovecraft, which states that ‘Almost nobody dances sober unless they happen to be insane’. I love this quote because it expresses the brave nature of dancers the obsession some of us have for this art form. However, dancing is moving and we all move and bounce to the rhythm when we’re kids. Unfortunately, as adults we often forget how amazing dance is and that the most important thing about dance is to have fun.
While working on the brief I found many things I didn’t know about the brand itself. I didn’t know that Rexona is a part of Unilever. Also, that they launched a campaign ‘unstereotype’ against stereotypes in 2016 to fight women stereotypes in advertisements. This campaign was followed by another one against stereotypes around gander, race, sexuality. Rexona has established dance partnerships with NowUnited and DanceOn – platforms I have never heard of before. Following the path of stereotypes , during my research I focused on finding out why stereotype about dance is so strong and why people are so intimidated ?
I found out the following:
There is less and less dance activities in schools in UK. According to Department for Culture, Media and Sport participation of children aged 5-10 in Dance and Music activities fallen almost by one- third in the past seven years, while partaking in Film and video activities increased significantly.
Also children age 11 to 15 spend 81.3 % on in and out of school time on film and video activities. Dance is the least popular off all activities with only 35.9 % engagement.
Those statistics show that the huge factor that contributes to those changes come from educational system and perhaps parents who don’t put enough attention to physical activities undertaken by children. Most of the children are not taught the movement from the young age, therefore it doesn’t become natural for them to dance. Additionally, it seems like the trends of activities for children are moving towards digitisation. However, dance provides forms of expressions that other activities don’t. Annabel Abbs(2017), in her article argues that dancing is beneficial for the mental health because ‘[it] allows children and young people to express and manage feelings that might otherwise be overwhelming. It enables them to explore emotions they may not be able to articulate.’ Therefore, dance can help children express the emotion they might not yet understand and help them be healthier and happier. In general, art forms have a powerful impact on children’s development as well as economic growth of the future, As Florda (2015) states ‘Nations that invest in creativity have more equal societies and, conversely, more equal societies tend to invest more in creativity.’ How can I spread the love to dance? How can Rexona face issues and stereotypes and encourage young people to move more, not only in the UK but globally? This are the questions I will try to answer in my response to the brief. 🙂
Abbs, A. (2017). Why dancing is good for mental health? [online] Huffingtonpost.co.uk. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/annabel-abbs/dancing-is-good-for-our-mental-health_b_9524056.html?guccounter=1 [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
Brandchannel (2018). Cannes Lions: Unilever Fights Stereotypes With Dance Pop. [online] Available at: https://www.brandchannel.com/2018/06/19/cannes_lions_unstereotype_youths_now_united_dance_/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (2016)’ Taking Part 2015/16 Annual Child Report’. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/539029/Taking_Part_2015_16_Child_Report_-_FINAL.pdf [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
Florida, R. (2015).Insight: The 2015 Global Creativity Index. [online]. Available at: http://martinprosperity.org/content/insight-the-2015-global-creativity-index/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
The Superprof Blog – UK. (2019). Dan ce Quotes: 20 Phrases to Inspire You. [online] Available at: https://www.superprof.co.uk/blog/inspiring-sayings-related-to-dance/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
Photo Credit Erick Strakota