Rhea Anklesaria The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty – An Integrated Marketing Communications Approach

Unilever was founded in 1930 as a packaged consumer goods company operating in the food, home and personal care sectors. Dove was launched in 1957 as a ‘beauty bar’. The message was – Dove is not soap, it is ¼ moisturizing cream. It was designed to be pH neutral and gentler on the skin than regular soap. In 2000 Unilever downsized over 1600 brands to 400, with “Masterbrands” designated to serve as umbrella identities for a range of products. Dove was nominated a Masterbrand and was called to lend its name to a range of personal care products including deodorants, body wash, hair care products, facial cleaners and hair styling products.

Objectives Despite the extension of the product portfolio, Dove continued to be perceived as a bar soap brand. In order to serve as an umbrella brand, Dove needed to identify with a range of products. The aim was to create a holistic campaign that could establish meaning for the brand rather than individual products. Advertising conveying functionality could no longer work as functionality meant different things in different categories. Unilever needed to re-launch Dove as a beauty brand. The beauty industry was overcrowded and competition was intense. Yet the competitors were not so differentiated and advertising sold the same tired messages and stereotypical images of beauty. Dove needed a truly unique selling proposition to break through the clutter. The objective was to send a fresh, new message to consumers. The changing face of advertising also meant the conversation of passive consumers to active participants. The campaign needed to involve the consumers and create brand volunteers. The Dove brand needed to achieve cultural relevance to retain brand loyalty.

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The results were astounding (Exhibit 1). of all shapes. “Dove’s mission is to make more women feel beautiful every day by broadening the narrow definition of beauty and inspiring them to take great care of themselves. Rather than portray the elitism of the model world. Unilever approached StrategyOne in conjunction with professor and psychiatrist Nancy Etcoff and psychotherapist Dr.” An integrated marketing communications campaign was built on this philosophy. The advertising needed to provoke debate. The tone needed to be straightforward and friendly. Dove needed an image than was inviting and accepting. Page 2 of 8 . They surveyed over 3000 women in 10 countries. Women clearly needed to see more realistic standards of beauty. not necessarily be agreed with but definitely be talked about. sizes and ages. setting it apart from the expert opinion and condescendence of its competitors.Rhea Anklesaria The final objective of the integrated marketing communications plan was to increase sales of Dove beauty products and launch new product lines. In order to stand out from the competition. According to the research. much like the strategy of Fair-trade brands like Body Shop. Unilever needed to challenge the restricting stereotypes in the beauty industry. Finally Dove needed to establish an emotional connection with women. Dove aimed to start a dialogue with its consumers about how beauty is and should be defined. Strategy In order to find an alternative approach to branding a beauty care product. According to its mission statement. Suzy Orback. only 2% of women worldwide considered themselves beautiful. It needed to embrace all women. adding the priceless ‘feel good’ factor to its brand image.

initially in the UK and then extended worldwide. broadcast and outdoor advertising as well as internet viral marketing.$13billion. Edelman Public Relations and Harbinger Communications (in Canada). Ogilvy created viral videos to host on the Dove website. each who hates some aspect of her body (Exhibit 3). To promote the campaign. Dove bought all the advertising space to feature several black and white photographs of women and unedited comments by women about themselves. The ad features a series of preteens. the initial execution was the ‘tick-box’.5million 30-sec spot where it premiered its “Little Girls” television advertisement. The media budget was relatively small . Its key concentration. was public relations. The campaign used a combination of traditional print. For Flare magazine’s 25th anniversary issue. Dove indulged in large scale media buying to promote the new campaign. Dove justified this as their strategy was to create debate rather than simply impose their own standards of beauty on viewers. New York showed a woman in a black dress and called on viewers to call a 1-800 number to vote “fat” or “fit”. This was translated into print advertising directing viewers to the website (Exhibit 2). Dove purchased a $2. Dove commissioned these 75 to 90 second films to create word of mouth “activation”. Disappointingly. Interactive billboards along high-traffic roads in major cities and highprofile locations like Times Square. The idea was to use minimal mass advertising to generate mass PR. In 2004 they launched The Campaign for Real Beauty. The advertisement solicits involvement in the cause while promoting the Dove Self Esteem Fund that funds programs to raise self esteem in young women.Rhea Anklesaria Tactics Unilever engaged advertising agencies including Ogilvy & Mather. For the Super Bowl XL. however. The first was “Daughters” featuring young women discussing their self esteem issues Page 3 of 8 . Rather than traditional 30 second commercials. However. 51% voted “fat”. In 2006.

a manicurist. In 2006. In 2006. From the left-over budget. According to the website. The winning commercial was aired during the 2007 Academy Awards. Dove created the Self Esteem Fund.” To launch the Cool Moisture Body Wash. To kick off the campaign. As tested on real curves. Finally. In a continuance of the Campaign for Real Beauty. British fashion photographer.Rhea Anklesaria because of the way they look. Dove used the age old technique of product placement. Dove launched an entire new line of beauty products specifically designed for older women.” The film was then placed on YouTube where it has been viewed over 3 million times. a kindergarten teacher. The tagline reads.5million in sponsorships to promote self-esteem in both local and national regions. Dove commissioned “Evolution”. “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted. Rankin shot six curvaceous women in their underwear including two students. which features a time-lapse sequence transforming an ordinary looking woman into a supermodel with makeup and digital editing. Dove also used the campaign to launch its new “Firming Cream”. the Pro-Age campaign challenged the notion that only young women are beautiful (Exhibit 4). The tagline read: “New Dove Firming. Dove partnered with the American Women in Radio Page 4 of 8 . Dove spent an estimated $2. Dove invited consumers to create their own ads for the launch of Dove Cream Oil Body Wash.” The fund encourages donations as well as provides resources for mothers and mentors to help raise young women’s self esteem. its purpose is two fold: it “develops and distributes resources that enable and empower women and girls to embrace a broad definition of beauty” and it “provides needed resources to organizations that foster a broader definition of beauty. This was followed by “Onslaught” and “Amy” which cautions parents to talk to their children before the beauty industry and its stereotypical advertising skews their perception of what is beautiful. an administrative assistant and a café barista. Contestants on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” competed to create a 30-sec commercial for the new product. The exposure generated by this internet viral marketing is valued at over $150 million.

3% increase in 2006. The Early Show and the Today Show. just to name a few. Most importantly it radically changed Dove’s image in the beauty industry. the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was also responsible for a 20% increase in sales in 2005 and a 7. Mostly Unilever was accused of disingenuousness. including 4 Clio Awards and a Cannes Lions Award. In addition to the sponsored advertising. At a local level. However. when consumers realized that it was also the parent company for Axe. a brand that capitalizes on stereotypical images of women to sell product. “Beyond Compare” a global touring photo exhibit created by Dove showcased 67 female photographers worldwide exhibiting beauty beyond stereotypes. It received features on major national morning shows Good Morning America. the Campaign for Real Beauty received an invaluable amount of free publicity. Oprah and the Tyra Banks Show. It funded a website developed by the National Eating Disorder Information Centre. Representatives of the campaign interviewed on talk shows such as the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Uniquely ME!. These endorsements by celebrities and experts could not have been bought and brought with them a level of credibility that no advertising campaign could create. CNN. size two Axe models hardly fit in with Dove’s campaign for “real” beauty. It received news coverage in Business Week.Rhea Anklesaria and Television to begin a discussion on beauty by experts of the media and fashion world. in partnership with Girl Scouts of USA to promote self esteem in adolescents. Harvard University established the Program for Aesthetics and Well Being to continue the study of the relationship between women’s well being and their portrayal in the media. Dove hosted seminars in several junior high schools in Ontario and a Real Beauty Workshop. Apart from winning creative awards. Dove also received some amount of criticism in the press and the blogosphere as certain viewers identified it as the brand for fat girls. Dove also hosted two workshop weekends for women in Atlanta and Chicago. People and the Chicago Sun. Page 5 of 8 . (Exhibit 5) The voluptuous. Through a grant from Dove. Dr Phil. helping young women with body image issues.

fewer even than choose “attractive” (9%).” • More than two-thirds (68%) of women strongly agree that “the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can’t ever achieve.Rhea Anklesaria Exhibit 1 Excerpts from “THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT BEAUTY: A GLOBAL REPORT .Almost three-quarters of women (72%) rate their beauty “average” and 69% rate their physical attractiveness “average.” • Overall. • Well over half of all women (57%) strongly agree that “the attributes of female beauty have become very narrowly defined in today’s world. “good-looking” (7%) or “cute” (7%). • (7%). 13% see themselves as somewhat less or much less beautiful or physically attractive than others.” Page 6 of 8 .Findings of the Global Study on Women. • 16% of all women think of themselves as “somewhat more” or “much more” physically attractive than others. September 2004 • Only 2% of women around the world choose the word “beautiful” to describe their looks. “feminine” (8%). • 47% of respondents strongly agree with the relatively extreme statement: “Only the most physically attractive women are portrayed in popular culture. • While 71% are somewhat or very satisfied with their physical attractiveness and beauty. only 57% of women worldwide are somewhat or very satisfied with their body weight and shape. Beauty and Well-Being”.” Women over 30 tend to believe this more strongly than women 18 to 29.

Rhea Anklesaria Exhibit 2 The Tick-Box Exhibit 3 Little Girls Page 7 of 8 .

Rhea Anklesaria Exhibit 4 Dove Pro-Age Exhibit 5 Axe Shower Gel – Any excuse to get dirty Page 8 of 8 .

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