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Dove's "Real Beauty" Campaign

If you are at all familiar with the mature markets, you will most likely be aware of Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty". While we admire this campaign for many of the same reasons that most marketers do, Dot Boom takes a unique look at what really makes this campaign successful and the big role that online information exchange played. This is truly a boomer campaign that goes more than "skin deep".

From Page 126

An Example of Meaningful Online Engagement
Before I wrap up this chapter on engagement, I thought it might be helpful to take a look at a highly successful engagement campaign - Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty":

When Dove began this campaign in 2005, most beauty product marketing relied on touting product features and their effects on waifish, unrealistic models. To rejuvenate its marketing efforts, Dove went directly to its consumers and, by listening to their target consumers, discovered that women want reality - real women in real situations. More importantly, they want to be recognized as beautiful for who and what they are.

Dove launched its campaign with television advertisements that featured photos of women and asked viewers to go online and vote "Fit?or Fat?", "Wrinkled? or Wonderful?", "Grey? or Gorgeous?", and so on. The media was horrified, but everyday women loved it. In fact, Dove delivered more than 650 million media impressions in 2005 and more than 4.5 million unique visitors entered messages or blogged on Dove's website. That's 4.5 million people who didn't just visit the website, but 4.5 million people who engaged in the conversation. And that doesn't count the millions of blog entries on other sites, millions of YouTube video views, or the numerous other social media sites developed around Dove's campaign (even including the spoof and critique videos developed and posted by consumers).

It's clear that consumers became engaged in this conversation, in this campaign, and with the Dove brand in a very intense way. And it worked. In a market space where growth was relatively flat, Dove was able to realize a 12.5 percent sales increase in 2005 and a 10 percent increase in 2006. "By consumer packaged goods standards, that is uncharted lift."

Since 2006, the "Campaign for Real Beauty" has continued to expand. Today, if you visit Dove's website (, you'll find tools for conducting workshops, a section for girls only, interactive experiences, blogs, tips, articles, expert advice, quizzes, and more. The company has even founded a Dove Self-Esteem Fund. (Oh, and one other thing you'll still find on its website: Dove product information.)

Obviously, the "Campaign for Real Beauty" engaged consumers from a multitude of perspectives. They tapped into a cluster that revolved around Identity - a core need that was fertile for such interaction. If Dove had simply looked at the number of votes it had received for that first ad, it might have continued the campaign by simply creating more and more display ads along those lines. Instead, Dove realized that there was intensity within this topic that called for not only more ads, but also an exchange of information from the company and other participants. This exchange occurred on both its own website and others, using a variety of tactics and techniques. Measuring the effectiveness of this campaign goes far beyond simply looking at the votes received. Instead, it has to consider all of the ways consumers are exchanging information about "Real Beauty."

» Launch Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" Website

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