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Is it time for Dove to revamp its 10-year-old campaign?

20-April-2015
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Is it time for Dove to revamp its 10-year-old campaign?

Dove recently launched a new video as part of a campaign called “Choose Beautiful.” Within a week, the video garnered over five million views on YouTube. The campaign, adding to the brand’s Real Beauty series, is a guerrilla social experiment.

Even though many on the internet appreciate Dove's recent effort to promote self esteem in women, others question the sincerity of a brand which depends on women purchasing products to make themselves more "beautiful."

The campaign

The brand labeled two side-by-side doorways, one with the word “average” and the other with the word “beautiful” and filmed women walking through them, focusing on which doorway they chose. These scenes, which according to the YouTube caption, took place in San Francisco, Shanghai, Delhi, London and Sao Paulo, are interspersed with women talking about the experience.

At first, most of the women choose the average pathway, but as the video progresses, more and more women work up the courage to take the beautiful route.

One woman who chose the "Beautiful" door describes the experience as "quite a triumphant feeling. It was like telling the world, 'I think I'm beautiful.'"

Watch the video here:

The backlash

Social media websites have been buzzing with critics pointing out that Dove is simply skimming the surface of beauty and self-esteem—two concepts Dove claims to understand and advocate for.

One argument against the company's Choose Beautiful ad is that women don't necessarily have to feel beautiful to have high self-esteem. And instead of giving women two superficial choices, Dove could have added several qualities — such as Funny, Intelligent, Unique or Kind.

Dove's supposed promotion of self esteem isn't limited to television. The brand took its campaign to Twitter, responding to women who tweet about their insecurities by telling them to mask their negative feelings about themselves by thinking happy thoughts.

However, comments all over Twitter and Facebook are proof of social media’s growing unforgiving nature. Here are some excerpts:

Key takeaway

When Dove launched the “Campaign For Real Beauty” in 2004, it was exciting to see a company choosing to feature women who were not models, and approach real beauty in a humane manner.

Over the past 10 years, the strategy has been working well for them. But as the growing conversation platforms give a higher voice to the actual “real beauty”, it seems Dove isn’t doing that great a job anymore. The brand’s continuous attempt to make a political point through their campaigns actually got people to think—so to speak, “empowered” them.

Dove is not in the business of changing beauty standards. They’re in the business of selling beauty products. Looks like it’s time for Dove to move on from its “Campaign For Real Beauty” campaign, and do something “real.”

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