by Caroline J. Wahl

Most products made for women try to make them feel beautiful by showing them an unattainable version of what the media thinks is beautiful. As long had media has been present there has been a pressure for women to fit into a mold and if they do not fit into that mold, they are not beautiful. In 2004, Dove attempted to change that standard of beauty to include women of all races, shapes, sizes, and backgrounds by launching The Dove Real Beauty campaign. The campaign sought out to transform women’s confidence by presenting a plethora of empowering and inspiring videos on YouTube. It doesn’t just stop at YouTube though, Dove uses the hashtag “#FeelBeautifulFor” on Twitter which accompanied a video that asks women who they think they are influencing with their ideas on their own beauty and who should they feel beautiful for because of that.

The Dove Real Beauty campaign sought to change women’s view of not only other women, but of themselves. Dove did this by working to expose how the media can create these unattainable ideals through make-up and Photoshop in Dove Evolution. Then Dove decided to take the person’s mental image of themselves and have a sketch artist that had never seen them draw them based off of their description of themselves. After that the artist had a person the women had briefly met describe how they saw that same person and the pictures were completely different, one an exaggerated version of the person and another, a more accurate less harsh version. This video tugs at the heart strings and makes the audience look at themselves and think “Am I too critical on myself?” which really conveys the message Dove was trying to get across.

Adweek.com said “Just 10 days after its release on April 14, “Real Beauty Sketches” had already garnered 660,000 shares on Facebook, and went on to become the most successful piece of viral marketing ever. To date, the three-minute film has been seen by an estimated 60 million Americans on YouTube; its global views are estimated at 170 million.”

The way Dove formulated this idea of a campaign embracing true and real beauty was after Edelman, their PR agency conducted studies on women to find out that only 2% out of 3,000 women they interviewed found themselves beautiful. Dove took this and ran with it, from there they created a billboard with two tick boxes one negative and one positive, next to a picture of a woman. People voted on which they thought described the woman and these people were able to see which tick was winning and it ultimately led to an influx in costumers. MarketingProfs.com says that “within six months, sales of Dove’s firming products increased 700 percent in Europe, and in the US sales for the products featured in the ads increased 600 percent in the first two months of the campaign. The Campaign for Real Beauty has exceeded company expectations; global sales surpassed the $1 billion mark in 2004”.

Recently, Dove has been becoming more involved in Twitter other than just YouTube.Again, Dove reshapes the ideals of what beauty is by putting the positive hashtag “#FeelBeautifulFor” in their tweets so others can read inspirational things about what influences their beauty. Not only was The Campaign for Real Beauty being spread throughout Twitter and YouTube but as nytimes.com added “An article on Mashable about the campaign was shared more than half a million times in 24 hours; on Buzzfeed, it was one of the top 10 items on Thursday.”. This campaign is so successful because it spread through out many social media platforms at once. There was also a recent addition to the videos which was the “Selfie” video that embraced natural beauty.

The way I would improve Dove’s campaign for beauty is that I would incorporate people who actually do like what they already look like.

References
Bahadur, N. (n.d.). Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign Turns 10: How A Brand Tried To Change The Conversation About Female Beauty. Retrieved February 6, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/dove-real-beauty-campaign-turns-10_n_4575940.html
Barletta, M. (2007, February 20). The Real Story Behind the Success of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. Retrieved February 6, 2015, from http://www.marketingprofs.com/7/dove-pro-age-primetime-women-barletta.asp
Klara, R. (2013, September 25). Dove Marketing Execs Win Adweek Honor. Retrieved February 7, 2015, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/dove-marketing-execs-win-adweek-honor-152705
Obiuwevbi, J. (2014, January 25). Dove discovers How Real Girls define Beauty on Social Media in Short Documentary – “Selfie”. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://www.bellanaija.com/2014/01/25/dove-discovers-how-real-girls-define-beauty-on-social-media-in-short-documentary-selfie/
The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2015, from http://www.dove.us/Social-Mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx
Vega, T. (2013, April 18). Ad About Women’s Self-Image Creates a Sensation. Retrieved February 7, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/business/media/dove-ad-on-womens-self-image-creates-an-online-sensation.html?_r=0