Old Dove Ad - Julie Roehm

“Historians and archaeologists will one day discover that the ads of our time are the richest and most faithful daily reflections any society ever made of its whole range of activities.”

-Marshall McLuhan

‘Elegance’, ‘Grace’ and ‘simplicity’ are the words used to explain beauty. But what does those words truly signify? When a woman believes in herself she’s able to conduct with grace and that grace gives elegance to personality. But how can a woman come to believe in herself? She’s able to believe in herself when she ‘admires’ all that she is. She ‘recognizes’ what she is and when she finds similar qualities in others she does not pity the other woman that “Oh she’s like me!” but is rather proud that “we belong to the same tribe”. When her simplicity is her treasure. Simplicity gives conviction, that conviction adds grace to conduct, that grace gives elegance to personality and together they all create beauty.

Dove found out this secret recipe for beauty and so in 2004 they made it their mission to make sure that women love what they are. Beauty isn’t just smooth fair skin. Beauty is a 60 year old carrying a characteristic glow on face despite the wrinkles. Beauty is making heads turn with your features despite the dark complexion. Beauty comes with loving yourself not others. If you are healthy than you are not ‘fat’, you are adorably chubby. It you are short than you are not a dwarf but you are the one who could do justice to high heels.

That’s the story Dove wrote with its “Real Beauty” campaign. In order to revive the brand, Dove’s PR firm Eldeman conducted a survey among more than 3000 women from 10 different countries and they discovered that only two to four percent of women thought that they were beautiful. This created a wonderful opportunity for executives to use the stories of their customers themselves – something I have discussed extensively. They had to find a way through which they could make women believe in themselves, which will make women rely on one product for a healthy skin rather than following one brand after another for their ambiguous promises. The only way to do that was to make them believe that beauty is approachable because “Beauty is You”

For 11 years, since the beginning of this campaign in 2004, Dove has aimed to celebrate natural physical differences held by all women and to encourage them to be confident, comfortable and happy with themselves. According to the records sales increased to $4 billion to date from $2.5 billion in the opening year of the campaign. This campaign also swept away a handful of ad awards for not just its innovative idea but also for its devotion to the cause.

This worldwide campaign included advertisements (real curves), videos (Evolution, Onslaught, Sketches), workshops, sleepover events, publication of a book and the production of a short film (Selfie) . Unilever emphasized on the overall project of ‘evolution of people’s common beliefs’ and widen perspectives of females and males alike of all ages.

We can’t just be getting people stirred up; awareness and conversation isn’t enough.  We actually have to do something to change what’s happening. We’re going to try to change a generation. You have to wait until they grow up to see what happens.” – Sharon McLeod, vice president Unilever

“Real Beauty” campaign have successfully increased the sales of Dove, entitled many awards to the brand and have helped increase women’s confidence. Harvard psychologist, Nancy Etcoff, researched and discovered that more women today describe beauty on a wider variety of qualities outside of just looks.