The Real Beauty campaign was launched in 2004, when Dove realized that many people were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with how they looked and felt about their bodies. This dissatisfaction is evident in surveys conducted among school children and women by Fortune magazine. In addition, Dove saw a growing gap between what people wanted from beauty products and what the market was delivering.
As a result of this frustration, Dove set out on an ambitious campaign to show humanity at its best – as beautiful – rather than at its worst which is often portrayed through media images of negative models or celebrities or even those who have been depicted negatively for no reason other than being fat. A significant part of the campaign involved using social network technologies like YouTube to show people themselves: ‘Today we are sharing this video because we think it shows something better about us: What our customers really look like’ said Dove’s Facebook page.
The Real Beauty campaign challenges the negative stereotypes that have been established by the beauty industry over many years, and which are perpetuated in every day media such as magazines. Dove’s website provides an overview of all its product lines including a section on ‘What women really look like – see how real beauty looks like … [and] why you should care’ For example, under this heading, there is a series of photographs taken from different user posts when they post messages indicating their experiences with Dove products..
The campaign uses a ‘beauty is not the absence of imperfections, but the power to embrace them and still feel beautiful’ theme. Dove asks women to share their photograph with the hashtag #mydovemessages on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook in order to show how people – particularly young women – have found beauty and confidence through Dove products. The messages are posted on social networks to create community support for the campaign which is an important part of its success.
Dove’s website features photographs from different users when they post messages about their experiences using the brand product line as well as other brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Pantene Pro-V or Olay Regenerist that also feature in this section. Users are invited to post pictures under #mydovemessages along with captions describing what they like best about these products and why they think others should try them.
Overall, we consider Dove’s Real Beauty campaign to be among the most successful marketing campaigns because it has managed to influence the emotions of consumers and create positive brand associations. Dove’s campaign is based on a strong message which provides women with the opportunity to make their own choices about how they wish to approach beauty, and encourages them not only to care for themselves but also others in need who are less fortunate than themselves. This makes it quite an unusual example of marketing that contributes positively towards society by bringing attention to issues such as body image and discrimination against women.
Dove’s website features photographs from different users when they post messages about their experiences using the brand product line as well as other brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Pantene Pro-V or Olay Regenerist that also feature in this section: what women really look like – see what real beauty looks like and why you should care, which is based on a series of photographs taken from different user posts when they post messages indicating their experiences with Dove products.
In the messages, women share their feelings about how they have benefitted from Dove products and the way that these products have helped them feel. The campaign is also an opportunity to engage consumers in positive dialogue on areas such as self-esteem, body image and discrimination against women. This contributes towards Dove’s goal of ‘real beauty is not the absence of imperfections, but the power to embrace them and still feel beautiful’.
Dove’s Real Beauty campaign has had a significant impact on brand perceptions. In 2006 Dove was perceived as being more feminine than average by both men and women (women rated it as more feminine by about 4.3 points). This was a significant improvement over the previous year, when Dove had been perceived in 2006 as being less feminine than average (by 3.9 points) and equal to the brand’s competitors among both men and women.
Dove has managed to generate positive brand perceptions by making a very positive contribution to society, for example, towards self-esteem and body image. This is achieved through the social activities that Dove engages in such as its Facebook page which has over two million followers.
The Dove brand is associated with happiness as well as other positive attributes such as a range of products that are intended to offer consumers more choice and help them feel better about themselves. For example, the campaign encourages women to be beautiful on their own terms. In addition, it also encourages people not only to care for themselves but also others who are less fortunate than themselves.
Dove’s Real Beauty campaign has had a significant impact on brand perceptions over the period 2006-2010, with Dove being perceived as more feminine than average by both men and women, and thus outshining its competitors among both male and female consumers. Hence, Dove’s campaign is considered to be one of the most successful marketing campaigns over this period as it has managed to influence the emotions of consumers and create positive brand associations.
Dove’s Real Beauty campaign has generated a significant impact on its own performance in terms of generating revenues for the company. In 2010, Dove’s revenues increased by around 10% compared to the previous year. In addition, its products are available in almost all countries throughout the world and have achieved significant success in international markets as well as within Australia and New Zealand.
That concludes our analysis of Dove’s Real Beauty campaign and how successful and influential it was. We ponder on how revolutionary the campaign would be if it was launched today rather than over a decade ago.