Dove’s recent “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign, which came out about a month ago, has received a lot of attention on the Internet. The advertisements highlight the tendency for women to critique their own appearance by having them describe various physical features to a forensic artist. The results, combined with an objective perspective describing the same women, showed that their perceptions of themselves were “uglier” than reality. Then, the tagline, “You are more beautiful than you think.” closes the video. The women in the video are emotional when they see the difference between their perception and another persons’, shocked by how they understate their own beauty. Though the viral internet video advertisement (which does not air on TV because of its three minute length) does not directly relate to any specific Dove products, it gives the audience the sense that Dove is a company that is devoted to promoting the average woman and redefining society’s perception of beauty.
This “Real Beauty Sketches” video is a part of Dove’s ongoing “Real Beauty” campaign, which predominantly uses “a-typical” models in its television and print advertisements—usually models of different races and sizes to promote the idea of differentiating beauties. The sketches ad seems successful overall—there have been several spin-off remakes by various directors, as well as comedic responses featuring men. Either way, whether the replication is serious or comedic, the idea was to spread the video…and that it was successful in doing. It definitely offers healthy perspective for women watching the video as far as reflecting on how they look at their own aesthetic flaws. Overall, the video is heartwarming, shot in a light-filled warehouse with authentic emotion from the participants.
A point of interest for the campaign’s potential backlash (as mentioned by Huffington Post) is that Dove is owned by a company called Unilever, which also owns the brand Axe. Axe advertisements are often noted for their portrayal of females involuntarily attracted to Axe-scented males, and the promise that smelling such way will help you “get more.” These sentiments quite contrast the feminine empowerment that the Dove ads are putting forth. Another potential issue for this campaign is that each of these women in the video is, undeniably, attractive in their own way. And, even in print ads that feature “plus-size” models, they too are quite unquestionably beautiful faces. Dove’s attempt, one could argue, in featuring those who do not fit in the “status-quo” of models does not go quite deep enough in that respect. They give us a sense of raw beauty, but not quite at a completely realistic level.
I thought the advertisement was successful for what it was supposed to do, being an Internet viral video (that is, reach the most people possible). It is definitely authentic: even watching it a few times, it still doesn’t seem as though the women knew what was going on to have set-up responses to the drawings. The authenticity of the advertisement definitely makes it effective in eliciting a response in the audience, especially the female demographic, and subtly plants Dove in their minds as a brand that promotes that healthy beauty self-awareness. In that respect it was definitely a smart marketing move. I am interested to see if Dove moves forward with the Real Beauty campaign, or tweaks it in some way in response to the possibly issues mentioned before. What do you think about the advertisement? Effective, not effective?
Dove announced Monday, May 20th that the Beauty Sketches ad campaign became the most watched video ad of all time. The video has been viewed over 114 million times and has been uploaded in 25 different languages to 33 of Dove's YouTube Channels.