The film, entitled "calls for dad" and created by the Los Angeles agency Davie Brown Entertainment, features 27 moments where children of all ages reach out to their fathers for support.
The one-minute film, which was directed by Rob Meltzer through Stun Creative, shows real fathers, none of whom is played by actors, providing care for their children, from potty training to soothing them at night.
A grown woman on her wedding day dances with her father and a man contemplates a scan of his unborn baby before calling his dad to tell him the news, conveying the concept that fathers are needed throughout a child’s life.
A study commissioned by Dove found that three-quarters of dads say they are responsible for their children’s emotional well-being, but only 20 per cent of those surveyed felt this was accurately portrayed by the media.
Marcus Buck, the assistant brand manager for Dove Men+Care at Unilever UK, said: "The video is designed to reflect on the moments that children call on their fathers for help, and show that these moments continue to occur throughout a father’s lifetime, no matter how old his children are.
"We have chosen to launch the video online to reach our target audience in a relevant environment and ultimately drive consumer engagement."
The ad is currently on YouTube but will be shown on television "in some countries". A spokesman for Unilever said it was designed to "live online and be shared" on social media.