What Do Kids Mean by 'I'm Fine'? Dove and Cartoon Network Try to Find Out

Ogilvy's latest stab at confidence boosting

In "I'm Fine," a new ad from Dove in partnership with Turner's Cartoon Network, several girls from around the world come home from school and are confronted with the same question: "How was your day?"

What follows is an animated unspooling of everything that traverses the girls' minds. 

Dove + Cartoon Network | I’m Fine

Finally, they answer in terse variants of "Fine." 

We remember coming home from school and trotting that word out because it seemed easier than taking the time to elaborate on a thousand inner contradictions. It's not just something kids do; I probably did it yesterday, at work or at home, and I imagine a lot of men do it as well. "Fine" can mask a universe.

The ad—which, despite its cartoony middle, is clearly more for parents than kids—is part of a commitment by the two brands to "help 20 million kids build self-esteem." It ends with an invitation to visit dove.com/cartoons, a resource where parents can help understand what "fine" really means.

It all feels very D.A.R.E. What does it even mean for a passel of brands and crusading parents to take up the mantle of adolescent well-being? How do you know you're winning the war for more self-esteem? 

Maybe it doesn't matter. As long as there've been kids with free time, there's been social pressure. And for just as long, adults with room to fret have made efforts to rid them of the neuroses that they themselves are still battling. Maybe it's one of those things that does more for the doer emotionally than for any concrete goal—like taking your straw out of a drink and handing it back to the waiter as an act of environmental defense. 

Anyway, the campaign continues with a series of Steven Universe tie-ins: 

Dove Self-Esteem Project x Steven Universe | We Deserve To Shine Music Video | Cartoon Network
Dove & Steven Universe | Teasing and Bullying Episode 1
Dove & Steven Universe | Competing and Comparing Looks Episode 2

The work is cute, and the Steven Universe characters are true-to-form and frank-talking, especially in the latter video. But a lot of kids already know that bullies are unhappy people, hating your body is a losing game you'll probably play your whole life, and that we are all special, whatever that means. 

Knowledge isn't always the thing that fixes you. (Ask a smoker.) 

Maybe this is because the knowledge that well-meaners peddle is often targeted to getting victims to change their ideas about what's going on, instead of shedding light on where these fucked-up behaviors even come from. And maybe we don't focus on the latter because, well … then we'd have to deal with the fact that they come from us—our cultures, what we value, and what we ourselves consider right or normal. 

Where's the brand program that focuses on that? And please don't talk to me about my self-esteem. I'm fine. 

Client: Dove
Client brand team: Sophie Galvani, Dinara Bekmansurova, Hannah Burns
Agency: Ogilvy
Executive creative directors: Andre Laurentino, Gerald Lewis
Creative team: Matt Nankivell, Vik Kanyo, Ollie Jarrott
TV producer: Lora Jane Brisland
Print producer: Chloe Jahanshahi
Account team: Cathy Sadiner, Sam Pierce, Georgie Howard, Carmen Vicente Soto
Strategy team: Sandy Thompson, Joshua Crost
TV production company: Sweetshop
Director: Andrew Lang
Producer: Justin Edmund-White
Animation director: Frankie Swan Picasso
Animation producer: Melissa Venet
DOP: Ula Pontikos
Editor: Gary Forrester, The Quarry
Colourist: Oisin O’Driscoll, The Mill
Post producer: Jake Saunders, Unit
Sound design: Jamie Thomas, Unit
Composers: Huntsmen Music
Photographer: Kitty Gale represented by Gill Turner

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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