Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign Leads to Real Brand Loyalty

For a while now, I’ve been following with great interest Unilever’s Dove Real Beauty Campaign.

When it first started running in ‘04, their original ads were met with some criticism and snide remarks. Some publications wouldn’t even take the ads. “What? You want us to run ads with REAL women?? … of every shape and size?!”

But, Dove was brave (and still is). They stayed the course, and that is where brand loyalty is born. I switched to Dove after that campaign came out because, as shoppers, we vote with our wallets and I wanted to vote for Dove. I wanted to support a company dedicated to a new and profound “truth in advertising” and one that was intent on changing the unreasonable definition that our society had given to what beauty is and looks like.

On Monday, Dove posted their latest extension of this campaign on YouTube via a 3-minute ad — an experiment to reveal the way women view themselves.

There are so many things that strike me about this campaign.

From a strictly marketing standpoint, Dove has completely created, and now owns, the concept of BEAUTY. They have redefined a notion that had become very skewed, unattainable and unhealthy. Talk about establishing a brand as an authority in its space. Whoa.

Getting to the core of a target’s mind-set and emotions, in addition to understanding their behavior, and then creating something that is so inherently relevant and authentic is to be commended.

Understanding that women are their own worst beauty critics (only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful), the brand leveraged this insight into a positive and very moving experience for women.

From a strictly human perspective, Dove reaches into the hearts and psyches of women, showing us, again, how mean and unfair we can be to ourselves. I often say to those around me that I wish they could see themselves through my eyes. They would see how great/beautiful/kind they are.

Watching this latest experiment/ad, feeling a squishy discomfort, realizing what they were out to prove, makes me think I might need to take my own advice! Don’t you wonder what the drawing of your face would be if you were directing an artist to capture it?

This latest win from Dove feels as much to me like a public service announcement as it does an ad for a brand.

Well done.

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Sharon Love

Sharon Love is CEO of retail marketing agency, TPN. To Sharon, "retail is a verb". It's not a place, but a state of mind where people can shift into a shopping mindset anywhere, anytime. As consumers become better-informed, smarter shoppers, Sharon challenges herself and the agency to evolve with them. Beyond her business savvy, she is an avid shopper, consumer, reader, traveler and wanna-be chef.

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