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Why the Dove Campaign was the Most Compelling Ad Campaign of 2013


June 3, 2014

A successful ad campaign effectively promotes a product to increase its demand, which can simultaneously increase the amount of sales a company can generate. However, a compelling ad campaign does much more than turn a profit. It creates an intrinsic response deep inside a person; a response of marvel, awe, admiration, and motivation.

In 2013, Dove provoked such a response. Ten years ago, Dove launched their “Real Beauty” campaign; a movement aimed at empowering women and teaching a generation that is so focused on image, to love oneself the way that they are. Since that time, Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” have revolutionized traditional ad campaigns. According to their website, Dove conducted a “compelling social experiment that proves to women something very important.” The campaign tells women that they are more beautiful then they think.

This experiment asked women to describe their facial features to an FBI-trained forensic artist, Gill Zamora. Once Zamora sketched the women based off of their perceptions of themselves, he did another drawing. However, the second drawing was based from a stranger’s description of that same woman. Once both sketches were complete, they were revealed, and in every case, the stranger’s depictions were better, and more accurate, than the original drawing.

Through this campaign, Dove not only shows women to love themselves the way they are, but also challenges the media to convey the same message. Just by showcasing women of all body types, and of all ages, advertisers can begin a new trend; one that challenges stereotypes.

And perhaps Dove is revolutionizing media advertisement. Just this Christmas, Top-Toy, a Swedish toy store, released a catalog which featured pictures of children breaking everyday stereotypes. Girls were shown with Nerf guns and boys were shown giving bottles to dolls. These images were aimed at increasing gender neutrality amongst today’s youth.

Other companies, such as Aerie have followed in Dove’s footsteps, by pledging to stop digitally re-touching their models.

Since they launched the campaign, Dove has seen an increase of almost 2 billion in sales, and has received a multitude of awards, including 19 at the Cannes Lion Film Festival alone.

No, the Dove Ad campaign might not be perfect. But, it is definitely a step in the right direction both for reducing stereotypes, increasing self-appreciation and self-worth amongst today’s women.

Written by Qia Scotton (Princeton Partners, Inc. Intern)