Dwyane Wade may not be playing in the upcoming March Madness tournament, but he'll sure be visible in it. The Miami Heat player stars in new commercials for Unilever's Dove Men+Care that break tomorrow and run throughout the series. The games bring back memories of former glories for Mr. Wade, whose triple double (one of only four in NCAA Tournament history) propelled Marquette past Kentucky into the Final Four.
But in an interview with Advertising Age, Mr. Wade said the most important thing to him is his family, a point he's glad to make in Dove's ads and in his book "A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger than Basketball," published last year. It recounts his well-publicized custody battle for his sons.
He does see himself as a role model. And, yes, he said he really does use Dove Men+Care -- a lot.
Ad Age: Why did you do these commercials?
Mr. Wade: Anything I do, I want it to be authentic to who I am. I love the Dove Men+Care product. I use it all the time. The 'Real Moments' campaign comes out in March, and I had a pretty big moment in March in my college career. And it also deals with something in my life that's real -- my kids and family.
Ad Age: What do you think about the way men have been portrayed in advertising?
Mr. Wade: Guys have been portrayed as muscular and strong. Some men get to show their personalities in ads now and then, but it's not really as glamorous as women.
Ad Age: Does this campaign help advance the image of men in advertising?
Mr. Wade: I think it helps advance the image of fatherhood, showing what's the most important thing. It shows how I am with my kids and the things we do. I think a lot of people know that about me because of my book and my custody battle for my kids being so public. No matter how busy you are. No matter who you think you are in the world, you have to focus on the most important thing to you. To me, that's my kids, my family.
Ad Age: Have your boys seen the ads?
Mr. Wade: Yes they have. I know they've been excited to become local stars in their schools.
Ad Age: There have been various takes on whether athletes are role models. Do you see yourself as one?
Mr. Wade: I believe that athletes are role models, whether you want to be or not. First of all, I'm a role model at home and to my boys. That's what's most important to me. And then I do have a responsibility as well to be a role model to other kids in how I carry myself. So no question about it.