Dove Beauty Campaigns

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Dove Beauty Campaigns

The fact that Dove campaign for real beauty has drawn praise and criticism in equal measure is nearly incontestable. It has redefined marketing campaign over the years through creative advertisements that are aimed at appealing to its target audiences. While some of these campaigns have been successful, others have proved to fall short of the expectations by both the audience but also by professionals in the field of marketing. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty which was launched in 2004 has proved that there are a positive side and negative side of advertisement campaigns. The primary target audience of this campaign is women and it aims at increasing awareness on the need of celebrating the natural physical variation that all women embody. Also, it sought to inspire women to not only be comfortable with themselves but also to be confident. For an advertisement to be considered as a success, it should appeal to the consumers’ emotions and present an alternative product or lifestyle. The examination of two advertisements associated with this campaign one which was successful and a less effective one will provide a better understanding of different techniques that can be used in the advertisement content production. The successful campaign was “Real Beauty Sketches” and a less successful one was “Choose Beautiful.” As it will be seen in the discussion, Dove often uses either or a combination of the techniques of advertisement including claims, association, and/or bandwagon in creating its marketing campaigns.

Real Beauty Sketches


Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” is one of its most successful campaigns that employed different techniques in producing advertisement content. This advertisement used a drawing of women first on the basis of their self-perception and then by a stranger (Bissell & Rask, 2010). The stranger’s descriptions were more stereotypically attractive, as well as the same to what the subjects were really looking like. As one of the leading brands in the world in the industry of beauty, Dove understands that it has a greater responsibility of not just selling products but also changing attitudes and perceptions about beauty. It is on this basis that it developed “Real Beauty Sketches”; it used the technique of claims. It relates to promoting particular features and making assertions regarding what products can offer the potential customers in terms of value for money (Mooij, 2014).This advertisement used it by hammering its point that women tend to be overwhelmingly critical of their appearances but at the same time failing to see their beauty. Although there is a failure on the part of women to appreciate their unique beauty and appearance, there seem to be a common understanding among them that it is important to appear beautiful. This explains why beauty companies’ advertisements are designed to appeal to this inherent desire by women through the claims technique. Dove stands out as the leading brand in trying to achieve this objective, a fact that is underpinned by the fact that its products are among the widely used globally. The “Real Beauty Sketches” advert using the claims approach of advertising resonated clearly with a huge audience as evidenced by over 114 million views it received online in more than 110 countries around the world (Murray, 2013). This success was a demonstration of Dove being different from other firms; it is able to create products and adverts that are significantly appealing.

This successful campaign effectively used the technique of claims where it used powerful images to evoke strong emotions among the target audience. This approach was informed by the survey that Dove carried out and which revealed that more than half of the women around the world contend to the fact that they are their worst critics when it comes to their own appearance (Hansen & Christensen, 2014). Therefore, the advert campaign sought to ensure that women drift away from this kind of poor attitudes towards themselves by invoking emotional responses that encourage them to perceive themselves positively. Studies have shown that there are circumstances that advertisers capitalize on with the view of creating a certain form emotional response that relates to a particular kind of reality (Mooij, 2014). It can be deduced that the advertisement by Dove was largely focused on creating a response that emphasizes the need for individuals to focus on their positive attributes. It sought to urge individuals to avoid taking a substantial amount of time and effort on the negative aspects of their appearances. The high positive response by the target audience showed the effectiveness of this advertising technique in achieving this goal.

Many experts in the field of advertisement agree that what made this Dove advert to perform strongly was its content that elicited powerful emotional responses of knowledge, happiness, and warmth from the target audiences. This explains the reason why it managed to achieve immense success in the views online. Bissell & Rask (2010) observe that this experiment proved the effectiveness of Dove model’s manipulated images as assessed based on variables like sizes and shapes.  The achievement of a huge number of viewers manifested the fundamental role that advertisement campaigns do in increasing the target audience’s state of mind. Also, it was an indication that it is more important for advertisements to go beyond offering information to include the creation of memorable experiences.  Based on these criteria, it can be observed that this advert greatly enhanced target demographics’ perception about a certain brand to the level where they become emotionally-invested in it. The use of the claims technique was also instrumental in inspiring the social motivations behind the positive response by the target audience. Most of the viewers of this advert found a reason to like it and subsequently felt the urge of sharing it (Hackley, 2015).

Moreover, this advert subtly used the technique of association where a product is associated with a desirable state, catchy jingle or famous or popular person with the view of creating a strong psychological connection among the target audience (Hansen & Christensen, 2014).  The advert insinuated the universalism of women. That is, the issues faced by women regarding their appearance are nearly the same across the world. It ventured into the major debate about whether beauty is universally defined or it is culture specific. It took the former view that beauty is universally-defined because the metrics of measuring beauty are made up of universal components. However, this view proved to be inappropriate because it portrayed the nature of women in the world as being self-derisive (Mooij, 2014). By using a small number of women, the advert became more raw and intimate; those involved were seen to hold a negative view of their physical self. Instead of focusing on their special features, they appeared to pay more attention to their flaws. The effectiveness of the use of the technique of association was further evidenced by the use of women ranging between 20 and 40 years (Murray, 2013). The essence of this broad range of age for the women was to diminish the importance of particular age in beauty. The departed from the focus of narrowing age groups and moved towards widening the scope of the age bracket that is deemed beautiful. While this was not in alignment with their target population, it was important in communicating the message of the timelessness of beauty among women. It portrayed beauty as being timeless and that no woman should be marginalized because of age in today’s society which is characterized by stereotypical beauty. This is a rather radical depiction considering that it departs from what can be the norm in the society where beauty is largely conferred to the women who are seen as being young while the older ones are left out.

The use of the association technique of advertisement was also largely visible in the main objective of this advert. While the advert was certainly a marketing tool for Dove products, its primary purpose was empowering women (Bissell & Rask, 2010). It acknowledged the power of media in providing the connection between human beings and the larger society in varying degrees. To achieve its main goal, the advert was made available on YouTube channels and in 25 different languages and 110 different countries (Murray, 2013). By using the internet as its platform, Dove made this advert to reach a huge audience by being shared widely. The internet has emerged as the biggest and most reliable platform to virtually everyone, and more so the advertisers due to its great reach and creating an opportunity for interaction and engagement among audiences. Fundamentally, it stimulated sensitivity and social conversation revolving around the definition of a woman’s beauty (Mooij, 2014).


Choose Beautiful


While Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” was a successful advertisement campaign, its other advert called “Choose Beautiful” was less successful. It not only proved to be polarizing but also sparked a backlash among a significant percentage of its target audience. It inappropriately employed the technique of bandwagon (Lachover & Brandes, 2009). Ideally, this technique relates to selling products through convincing the customers that other people are using it and that they too should join the crowd. However, its use by Dove proved to be counterproductive as it created an impression for individuals to make choices based on their perception of beauty rather than following the bandwagon principle of making choices that others have already made. In the “Choose beautiful” advert, the company called for women from different parts of the world to renounce the parochial and rather unattainable standards of beauty as portrayed by media (Bissell & Rask, 2010). It stated that they should alternatively replace those standards with a message of women empowerment. Whereas this message was in alignment with the message conveyed in “Real Beauty Sketches,” it appeared to be manipulative and heavy-handed. Most of the target audience viewed it as being very patronizing. Often, it is easy to note that audiences are disturbed by adverts and any form of shows that seem to be attacking their free will and desires. Dove seemed to be trying to master the art of expressing passive-aggressive advertising but in a very belligerent manner which did not augur well with most of the target audience. Certainly, this was bound to cause discomfort among its target audiences.

Besides inappropriately using the technique of bandwagon, it also misused the strategy of claims. In its ideal state this advertisement technique holds focuses on promoting particular features and making claims regarding what products can offer the