Dove Real Beauty Sketches – best marketing campaign of the century?


18 Feb Dove Real Beauty Sketches – best marketing campaign of the century?

Who would have thought that a brand which primarily sells toiletries, could deliver a promotion that arguably wins the title of best viral campaign?


Dove: how to build a brand

In 2004, international cosmetic brand, Dove, launched its Real Beauty campaign, aiming to empower females by using the ‘everyday woman’ in its advertisements. This focus on natural beauty was a strong juxtaposition to the highly sexualised representation of feminine beauty that was seen elsewhere in the media.

Dove’s mission was always to be ‘committed to building a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety’, and its marketing tactics continue to shock and amaze 10 years later.


Real Beauty Sketches campaign

Launched in 2013, Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches rapidly became the most popular viral video of all time. This meant that it reached the biggest audience over the shortest period, due to the content being circulated and shared across the Internet. Sitting comfortably at 66,625,734 views (and still growing) on Youtube, the video has undoubtedly touched a soft spot all over the world. In fact, the video has been viewed in more than 110 countries*, and continues to gain credit for its influence.


Watch the video below:


“You are more beautiful than you think”

So why did this video work so well for Dove? Well, firstly, they knew their audience and gave them content that they could relate to. By tapping into the way women feel about unrealistic representations of the female body across the media, Dove showed empathy and gave them a support system.

We’re in a time where Generation C – a group of people who create and share content using digital technologies – is not only growing, but is shaping societal beliefs. It is therefore imperative to provide your target market with content that is relevant to them. This increases its ‘shareability’ – the likelihood of someone distributing your marketing material to their own connections through social media and mobile technologies. So, instead of paying for an advert to reach the masses, your audience become your brand promoters and essentially do the hard part for you.


What can we learn from Dove?

  • Avoid media trends: sometimes it can pay off to swim in a different direction to your competitors. What can you do to stand out from the crowd?
  • Research your audience: not only their demographic, but gain a clearer understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. An emotional pull is fundamental – whether this is through empathy, such as Dove; humour, such as Three Mobile; or even by evoking controversy to spur discussion, such as The United Colours of Benetton.
  • Content is key: Whether it is a video, a blog post, a tweet, or a pin. Make sure the content that you are sharing relates to your audience. This will increase the likelihood that your content will be shared.


*Statistics from Business Insider (2013)

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