The Dove real beauty campaign was started in 2004 when declining sales of dove products had them go to Edelman PR for help. With the wealth of competition on the shelves that could rival dove products they decided to approach potential customers with ideologies rather than marketing of a product. These ideologies came in the form of what beauty is, linking to Dove in the way that they sell beauty products. People would see advertisements for these philosophical concepts and could go to the Dove website to cast votes.
They formed and executed the campaign at the right time, as it was when tabloids and glossy magazines were obsessively writing about eating disorders. It was also the start of web 2.0 with MySpace and Facebook where society were increasingly putting photos of each other and themselves on the internet and becoming vain in physical appearance in front of a global community.
The idea was to make women feel beautiful regardless of size, shape or any other feature, literally just the way they are. There have been many praises and few criticisms of the campaign, providing the essence of a good follow through on the original idea. The point of a pr campaign is to get the same message you sent to the receiver through a variety of channels and Edelman-Dove seemed to have accomplished that task. The tabloids continued with their aforementioned obsession but they crafted an angle similar to Dove real beauty and how all their case studies were trying to return to these.
However, as is the nature of humans to think pessimistically, did it become that if everyone was beautiful then nobody was? The campaign had commissioned research on all women to realise what views they had on beauty and found that just over 60% of women and girls asked across seven countries wanted to change their appearance, when the same research was redone two years later they found this had risen to 90%. Was the campaign to blame for the consciousness of what beauty is when it set out to make people aware that beauty isn’t what society was subtly painting it as?
The campaign also hit its target audience, all women orientated magazines and almost all tabloids challenge the conception of ‘real beauty’ in every issue since the campaign. Although, they had always spoken of appearance woes and such in their issues, even if it wasn’t a full page spread.
However they targeted women as a whole, target audiences tend to be niche to an extent but this campaign sought to include half of the global population. This helped its cause as to only keep it national would have made people think that only western culture is pretty, if they limited that it would put limitations on everything they said, so creating a global real beauty culture they mocked limitations and made all think of their philosophies.
The use of a website voting system was also clever as it meant anyone can access it. As from 2004 public places offered internet connectivity so everyone could always get to it, rather than having to spend money and time calling or filling out forms to post.
http://www.psucomm473.blogspot.com/2007/03/dove-campaign-for-real-beauty-case.html [accessed May 26 2010]