The media shows us millions pictures of “beautiful” people and gives us a lot of “lessons” on how to make ourselves more attractive: how to have better hair, better teeth, better makeup or a better body.
Take any fashion magazine and you will see that almost every fashion advertisement company there uses a thin model who looks happy because she has bright skin, new lipstick, beautiful clothes or because she lost her weight because of some new magic pills. Have you seen an overweight male or female appear in the advertisement? This is more proof that we are being manipulated into thinking and being told what is attractive and what isn’t, because if we don’t see the average overweight person in a commercial or billboard advertisement, and only see thin models, it’s just going to be taught to us that fat is bad and thin is good.
Dove, major soap cooperation, made a decision not to support the “perfect image” by using natural beauty in their advertisements. This company wanted to show “real beauty” of “real people” in their ads. That’s why their products are advertised not by young skinny models who you can see only in magazines or on TV but by women who you can see in your city every day. That’s how Dove wants to make real change in the way women and young girls perceived and embraced beauty. To most people and especially women Dove brand associates with middle-aged women who like many people of the world have wrinkles or are over-weight but still they are happy about their lives and take great care of themselves.
Evolution of Dove
In 1955, Lever Brothers introduced Dove, which contained a patented, mild cleansing ingredient, into the soap category. It was positioned as a “bar of soap” with one-fourth cleansing cream that moisturizes skin while washing as opposed to the drying effect of regular soap. Advertisements reinforced the message by showing the cream being poured into the soap.
In 1979, dermatologists showed that Dove dried and irritated skin significantly less than ordinary soaps, based on which Dove started aggressive marketing and won more than 24% of the market by 2003 (http://en.wikipedia.org).
Some key facts:
• the world’s number 1 cleansing brand
• sales of over € 2.5 billion a year in over 80 countries
• outsells all other skin care bars combined in the US
• over 1 billion showers taken with Dove products in the US each year (http://www.unilever.com)
Later Dove expanded into other “personal care” categories – including body wash, hair care, facial cleansing and moisturizing. Finally soap represented only less than half of its sales. Although Dove portfolio had totally changed into that of beauty brand, consumers still perceived Dove as a bar of soap.
A big team was set to reinvent Dove as a beauty brand. It appeared that there were hundreds of competitors in the beauty category and they all didn’t really differentiate from one another. In order to determine the optimal beauty strategy for Dove that would set the brand apart from its competitors a global consumer research study was made.
The results were stunning:
• Only two percent of women describe themselves as beautiful.
• Sixty-three percent strongly agree that society expects women to enhance their physical attractiveness. Forty-five percent of women feel women who are more beautiful have greater opportunities in life.
• More than two-thirds (68%) of women strongly agree that “the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most woman can’t ever achieve.”
• The majority (76%) wish female beauty was portrayed in the media as being made up of more than just physical attractiveness.
• Seventy-five percent went on to say that they wish the media did a better job of portraying women of diverse physical attractiveness, including age, shape and size (http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com).
In order to personify the notion that real beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and ages, real women were used in the advertising rather than models.At the same time Dove established The Campaign for Real Beauty that aims to change the status quo and offer in its place a broader, healthier, more democratic view of beauty. The campaign exhorted all women to love their bodies every day. The general target for The Campaign for Real Beauty is women age 27-67 (http://www.thearf.com).
Later, as part of Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, the Dove Self Esteem Fund (DSEF) was launched in 2004 and formalized the brand’s support to combat eating disorders (http://www.strategymag.com). This Fund seeks to educate and inspire young girls through a series of tools and workshops to become fully realized adults. Through the Fund they aim to reach the lives of 5 million young people by the end of 2010, with at least one hour of participation in one of their self-esteem programs. To make change possible, the Dove Self-Esteem Fund focuses its efforts to foster positive image-related self-esteem in two areas of activity:
• The Fund develops and distributes resources that enable and empower women and girls to embrace a broad definition of beauty
• The Fund provides needed resources to organizations that foster a broader definition of beauty (http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com).
Campaign for Real Beauty
Dove made more things that could help them to reach their goal. They created a short film showing steps required to turn a woman into a billboard-ready model – from hair, makeup, photography and lighting and even to Photoshop. This film was created to encourage girls to participate in Dove-sponsored “real beauty” workshops in conjunction with the brand’s Self-Esteem Fund. The most interesting thing is that no Dove products were advertised in that short film, but the brand message was so powerful that it sounded through the world: 2 million YouTube hits in the first two weeks, over six million now. It was most viewed on YouTube for day, week and month in October 2006. Most viewed story on CNN.com on October 24 and ABC.com’s lead story. Its media value is estimated at 150 million. It’s been parodied repeatedly, has appeared on countless websites. Its aim was to promote the Dove Self-Esteem Workshops, which sold out in Canada almost in minutes. This film showed that interest in the already interesting “Campaign for Real Beauty” went way up. “Evolution” was not trying to sell anything other than a point of view. Its real purpose, and this is true of all Dove Self-Esteem Fund work, is to promote dialogue. It did that spectacularly and a whole lot more. Dove evolution film even won two Grand Prix at Cannes, both Cyber and Film (http://creativity-online.com).
Dove films (Evolution, Onslaught, etc) are also a good example how it can be used cheap online channels to spread the message rather than purchasing expensive TV network time.
Dove is a good example of a brand with huge “emotional capital” because this brand has developed such a strong emotional connection with consumers — globally. Dove created a forum for women to participate in a dialogue and debate about the definition and standards of beauty in society. Dove also released a global, academic research study that explores the relationship that women from around the world have with beauty and its links to their happiness and well-being. They established Self-esteem workshops with young girls in schools to help them foster a healthy relationship with and confidence in their bodies and their looks.
This campaign has radically and for all times changed the Dove brand image. Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was one of the most widely admired ad campaigns in the world. Dove succeeded to demonstrate that beauty was much more than stereotypes. Somehow Dove repositioned itself from being only the part of the beauty industry to being one of the beauty industry’s harshest critics — and in the process, they’ve sold millions of pounds of beauty products. This transformation dramatically increased sales across the Dove product portfolio and gave the brand huge cultural relevance.
Beside great success Dove also got a lot of critics about this campaign. All this Campaign for Real Beauty spoke for real, natural beauty and used real women in their ads but those real women were advertising cellulite firming cream. It’s supposed to “go to work on problem areas to help skin feel firmer and reduce the appearance of cellulite in two weeks.” Many critics asked a question: Is cellulite not a natural thing, is it not a real thing or real beauty (http://dir.salon.com)? Dove brand was famous for using real-life models with imperfect bodies in their ads and it was known for challenging today’s stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women to take great care of themselves. But why did they advertised cream that had zero health value and was just an expensive and temporary Band-Aid for a “problem” that the media had told us we had with our bodies.
Dove Marketing Lessons
After all praises and critics Dove met, this campaign for real beauty is a great example of marketing. They had a lot of energy and were prepared to transform our culture’s most fundamental ideas of what beauty is.
People who are working with Dove campaign say that the most important thing in branding the product is to work together with consumers, to hear what they really want and to fell what they really need.
Dove even gives seven branding lessons that helped them to succeed and maybe will help for others:
• Survey the world. Get to know the culture.
• Discover the trend or the impulse that could serve the brand.
• Assess the downside risks to which the brand is exposed.
• Establish a time table that shows the growth of the trend.
• Establish the moment to get in.
• Partner with the enthusiasts of the trend.
• Make your move (http://www.cultureby.com)
It is difficult to go against the old stereotypes that and it is hard to teach people to think about everything in another, new way.
The public’s perception of beauty greatly differs from what it has been taught. Most people are taught to look at inner beauty, but we are constantly bombarded with images of things that are externally beautiful. So how can we be expected to look at the inner beauty of a person, when we see so much external beauty every day?
Dove not only asked these questions but tried to answer them and create another meaning of word “beautiful”
1. Dove (Soap). Read 2008 04 03. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dove_(soap)
2. A brand that keeps to its clinically proven promises . Read 2008 04 03 . Source: http://www.unilever.com/ourbrands/personalcare/dove.asp
3. Only Two Percent of Woman Describe Themselves as Beautiful: New Global Study Uncovers Desire for Broader Definition of Beauty. Read 2008 04 01. Source: http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com/press.asp?section=news&id=110
4. Dove “The Campaign for Real Beauty”, Business Situation and Campaign Objectives. Read 2008 04 05. Source: http://www.thearf.com/downloads/awards/studies/Dove_2007_Ogilvy_Case_Study.pdf
5. Natalia Williams, Dove: Brand Beautiful. Read 2008 04 05. Source: http://www.strategymag.com/articles/magazine/20051101/dove.html
6. About the Dove Self Esteem Fund. Read 2008 04 05. Source: http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com/dsef07/t5.aspx?id=7316
7. Creativity Awards 07 Grand Prize Winner: Dove “Evolution”. Read 2008 04 05. Source: http://creativity-online.com/?action=news:article&newsId=119085§ionId=the_creativity_awards
8. “Real beauty” — or really smart marketing? Read 2008 04 05. Source: http://www.cultureby.com/trilogy/2007/02/7_branding_less.html