(In her latest post, Carol Cone, an expert on Cause Branding and CEO of Cone, Inc., provides some great commentary on the Real Beauty Campaign. Very different than a stance I took a number of posts ago, but this diversity of thought is what makes Brand ManageCamp so fun! - Len)
Dove Campaign the Beginning of a Broader Movement? - another post by Carol Cone
Standing in the personal care aisle at CVS a few weeks back, I paused before a sea of products contemplating which antiperspirant to buy. I usually go for something very basic, but decided to try a Dove product, because I’ve become fascinated with their Real Beauty campaign.
For me, Dove suddenly transformed from a very basic and frankly bland bar of white soap, into a brand pioneer blasting through decades of female beauty stereotypes into an exciting new world.
As an expert in cause branding, I watched this campaign unfold, asking myself, is this advertising or is it something far beyond? Could this be the beginning of a movement with other brave companies and brands brandishing new communications sabers, dashing beyond the female waif stereotype?
From the New York Times, to Ad Age, PR Week, and the cover of People, the Dove ad campaign has been covered. What is fascinating about the stories, (and the letters to the editor too ) is that no one reports beyond the ads, and the real women models. There is far more than meets the eye here.
Dove has created a classic cause branding campaign. Their brand: the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. www.campaignforrealbeauty.com Their issue: addressing beauty stereotypes and women’s self esteem. Their mission: to change the status quo, offering a broader, healthier and more democratic view of beauty. The campaigns elements: Grants to create partnerships supporting the issue; highly credible research, a diverse advisory board and a full plate of marketing communications.
Thus the advertising we see is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Here is a brief look at what is below:
Grant making: the Dove Self Esteem Fund provides financial support to a global network of local country initiatives that address girls self esteem. In the US Dove is linked with the Girl Scouts of America in a $2 million+ relationships that aims to reach 1.5 million girls by 2005 with curriculum, educational materials and programs. In the UK the program is called, Body Talk addressing body image issues for young girls and boys too: In Canada they partner with the Beyond Compare Photo tour.
Research: the Dove Report research conducted with the University of Michigan with 1200 young women reporting on beauty issues; a Global study done in conjunction with Harvard, Mass General Hospital, the London School of Economics, all heavyweights themselves, talking with women in ten countries on issues of beauty, well-being and self-esteem.
The marketing communications includes the striking ad campaign. Personally I was stopped dead in my tracks in Time Square this summer viewing the multistory billboard asking me to vote on my cell if the 60+ ish woman portrayed is gray or gorgeous. Gorgeous of course.
There is also a full website, mall tour and photo and essay contest.
I say kudos to Dove for being bold, courageous and comprehensive. While some ad reviewers say this is just a blip on the radar screen of real women, I say, this is here to stay.
Why? Because reality is interesting. Because life is so challenging today, that women crave images that are attainable and programs that are real, indeed something we might join in ourselves, or our daughters might join.
Is women’s self esteem one of the newest and hottest issues that are here to stay? You bet.
Nike, always a leader and so smart, has their new campaign for women that addresses big butts, thunder thighs and funky knees and shoulders. Their real women commentaries on their website are refreshing, and good for a chuckle.
Fruit of the Loom is using a plus sized model looking confident and cool…..not as striking as Nike or Dove, but a two page spread in People, so there is weight behind this, pun intended.
Will others jump on this? I bet they do.
As companies and brands look for deeper meaning and relevance with consumers, we’ll see more reality women and self esteem related issues programs. Pink ribbon, move over.