When you’re trying to define the success of an ad campaign, it’s hard not to list the Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty” as a top contender. The people at Unilever thought completely out of the box for this series of promotional stories, which have been running for over a decade now. They didn’t just get creative; they chose to look at reality in a whole new way, and have changed the world in more than one way by doing so.
In a world where an online Hulu session is irreversibly interrupted by an ad with a countdown widget in the corner, you’ve got to really bring out the big guns if you want to keep your product from being viewed as an annoyance. Dove has certainly figured out how to do that and left many of their potential consumers in tears (the good kind) in the process.
Telling A Story
Unilever personalized this Dove campaign by putting a very individual touch on each segment. Within just a few seconds, these ads revealed to us a full spectrum of a personal story, one that we wanted to know the ending to. Drawing consumers in and making them want to know more is easily done when you’re telling them a story. In a very short amount of time, consumers recognized that Dove was going to tell them a story with each new ad, and they couldn’t wait to see the next chapter.
What was so brilliant about the story Dove is telling with their “Campaign for Real Beauty” is that it’s one that appeals to everyone. Before this campaign, the beauty industry was all about making each product seem elite. Their advertising was geared towards convincing us that their products were only meant for a certain type of person, and that by using the product you could become that type of person. Dove has taken a whole new tack with this campaign by telling us that we’re all beautiful as we are, and that we can care for our inherent beauty using their products. This widespread relatability has made us feel great about ourselves and has made us want to thank Dove by using their products.
Making a Movement
Once Dove decided they had something to say, they made sure that we all heard it. The “Campaign for Real Beauty” isn’t just selling a product—it’s changing the way women view themselves. In the backlash of unrealistic media expectations, Dove has found a much needed niche of self-esteem building through these ads. When the campaign began in 2004, only 23% of women felt they were responsible for influencing their own definition of beauty. Ten years later, nearly 3 times that many women feel that way. That’s quite an impact, and it shows us just how much influence an ad campaign can have in spurring a movement.