by Allison Wetzel

The Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign is part of Dove’s 10-year running Real Beauty campaign. Fernando Machado, the global brand vice president for Dove Skin at Unilever says the purpose of the campaign is “to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence and not anxiety” (The New York Times, 2013). Market research conducted by Dove found that only 4% of women consider themselves to be beautiful and 54% of women consider themselves to be their own worst critic. Business Insider reports that is roughly 672 million women worldwide. These numbers prompted the campaign and a social experiment for Dove. Through the campaign they achieved their goal of proving to women, “You are more beautiful than you think.”(Dove Website, 2013.)

The Dove Real Beauty Sketches film features women describing their physical appearance to artist Gil Zamora. Zamora is an FBI forensic artist, who according to PR Newswire has drawn over 3,000 sketches in his 28-year career featuring his trademark Compositure Methodology technique. The real women appearing in the film were not seen by Zamora, he asked the women a series of questions about their physical appearance and based the sketch off those descriptions.

Following the original sketch of each woman, Zamora would then complete a second sketch. However, the description for this sketch came from a stranger who had met the woman the day before when they were asked to spend time with each other, without any indication as to why. In each case the second sketch was much more flattering and a truer representation of what the women look like. When the two sketches were revealed to the women they began to see that they are more beautiful than they believe.

Real Beauty Sketches SharesCampaign was wildly successful and the numbers prove it. It became the most watched viral video of all time and has been viewed more than 114 million times. Published on 22 of Dove’s YouTube channels, in 25 different languages and viewed in over 110 countries. The video won Ogilvy & Mather a Titanium Grand Prix. The rate in which the video spread was also record breaking. Within the first two weeks of the films release it was shared 3.17 million times.

Although this campaign was extremely successful and a definite social win for Dove, there are a few improvements that could be  made. The campaign did feature real women, they were not models or actors, but they were generally similar. Dove should have selected a more diverse group of participants, ranging in age, race, and weight. There were a few exceptions, but I felt that the majority of the  women were young, white, thin and attractive. If the campaign would have featured more variety in participants it would be more relatable to a larger demographic.

I also would add a third drawing. The sketch based off the strangers interpretation was important because their description was based on appearance, which the campaign is trying to prove to women they are more beautiful than they believe. But Dove could have asked loved ones of the women to describe how they looked. It would have been interesting to see if an emotional connection would have played a role in how they described the physical appearance of their mother, daughter, grandmother or friend. Showing to women that they are beautiful on the inside and out, which ultimately being beautiful within is the most important kind of beautiful.

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Real Beauty Sketches. (2013). Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. Retrieved from