B-e-a-YOU-tiful – The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty launched in 2004 in order to change women’s minds about the definition of beauty. Dove wants to show women that they should focus on their own beauty as a source of happiness instead of living up to the standards of others. This specific ad above appeared on YouTube on April 14th of this year, and it already has over two million views. Uniquely, this ad in the campaign series attempts to show women that they are more critical of themselves than other people are. It illustrates how women tend to point out the bad qualities before good ones, and it attempts to change that attitude to promote a healthier self-image and overall happiness.
This campaign can be categorized as a public relations campaign, and it falls into the category of corporate issue advocacy. Its placement into the public relations category is due to its “main aim to create understanding” and “to suggest what individuals should believe” (Baines et al., 2004). In relation to the Campaign for Real Beauty, Dove wants create an understanding of the importance of a healthy self-image, and they would like for women to truly believe in their individual beauty. The subject of beauty has been debated for decades because it is constantly evolving. The standards of beauty held by supermodels and celebrities can be seen as controversial when it comes to the risks women take to attain that “beauty.” Since the standards of beauty can be considered a controversial issue, corporations like Dove wish to take a stand against those standards by creating a new standard for beauty: a positive self-image.
This campaign is currently in the planning stage because Dove values how women see themselves and they have a goal to change the negativity surrounding that image. Dove puts the standards into the hands of the women by showing them that they only need to persuade themselves of their beauty because others are already aware that it exists. If purchasing Dove products makes women feel like they are supporting their inner beauty, Dove has planned accordingly with this video. Because they need to reach a wide audience, Dove is also in the promotion stage of their campaign. Dove has stated that “women are their own worst beauty critics,” and “only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful.” If this is a true statement, this campaign is a much needed one in order to convince 96% of the female population of their own beauty. Dove is not advertising a new product, but they are advertising a new attitude to associate with their product: self-confidence. They want women to identify with this ad (and product) by making it memorable and uniquely personal in accordance with a healthy self-image.
The audience of women who viewed this video is most likely to receive this message positively. Unlike other ads, there is not an expectation to please the general population. These women are not held to the standards of others. That itself should bring about a new confidence and belief within those who viewed this campaign advertisement. Once the women in the commercial saw how critical they were of themselves, their reactions were profound. One woman described the difference in her sketches by saying that they not only appeared differently, they seemed to have completely different outlooks and personalities. The goal of this campaign is to show women that their self-esteem and self-confidence has an immediate effect on how they act. This can be explained in Cialdini’s cognitive shorthand of consistency. If women refuse to believe that they are beautiful in some way, in order to be consistent, they will tend to follow through with that belief and attitude and act in ways according to their “lack of beauty.”
The consistency of action can work in the same way with the opposite effect due to this campaign. This campaign is a persuasive one because it shows women that they are the main influence on their own beauty and attitude. This campaign is one of the most positive and revolutionary campaigns relating to the standards of beauty set by society in comparison to women’s internalization and observations of their own beauty.
Megan Denney

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