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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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For many years, beauty has always been defined breath holding cliché form of idea. Nearly each single one among these ladies are photo-shopped or changed to some extent, whether it's during a billboard or on a magazine ad; some of them go much extreme than this which comprehending all types of shapes, texture and size. When all the brands were running to this path, there was one specific brand who took the stand for them and did something which differed from others to stand out and that brand was dove when it launched its “Campaign for real beauty” in 2004 (Bahadur, 2014), which was a worldwide hit. This current year marks fourteen years since Dove launched its revolutionary “Campaign for Real Beauty.” This campaign was launched after the brand went through a crisis in 2003 where they felt like Dove was being side-lined and considered as a product for just the elderly which would lead to the brand slowly dying for their consumers. Dove was finding another way to revive its brand, because they were recently setting out to introduce beauty provides, aside from soap, into their line, they thought perhaps they may begin a sense of topic for communication regarding real beauty so, they had its PR Company, Edelman, conduct a study involving more than 3,000 women in 10 different countries to learn about women's priorities and interests. (Skene, 2014). Only 2% of the women considered themselves beautiful. The aim of the campaign is to celebrate natural physical differences symbolized by all women and encourage them to have confidence to be comfortable and happy with themselves.

During the year in 2004, a photography exhibit titled "Beyond Compare: Women Photographers on Real Beauty” was organized by Dove and Ogilvy&Mather. It had the premium work of 67 different female who were photographers by profession which marked the beginning on that real beauty campaign (Lichti, 2006). They generated this campaign to target a more youthful audience. This was difficult as younger populations seem to be more idealistic and socially aware. This campaign spans around print media, along with television, digital and outdoor media. Joah Santos, a chief creative officer working in nylon led a 3-year research effort based of creative strategies partnering up with 3 individual institutions in four different places around the globe. He describes, this era as now it seems like there is “femvertising”; also adds “I love to see all the positive messages about female strength that brands are using – even if some are using it as a gimmick and others are actually using it to make a difference.” (Santos, 2016).

The 3-year research led to deriving a new advertisement strategy which was named “P.O.V”, named by Joah Santos. Purpose, Ownership and Vision are the three objectives of these strategy. Dove scrapped out the typical strategy used by Unilever and took the deal of POV strategy, the main aim of this strategy was to make women feel safe in their own skin and make this world a place where beauty can be looked as an element of confidence and not anxieties for a woman. The only limitation was that only 2% of women considered themselves beautiful. (Vega, 2013)

The first wave of the campaign started with a series of advertisements on banners and billboards, displayed in the UK and Germany first and then later rest of the world. The highlight of the photos were regular women replacing professional models (, 2016). The advertisements welcomed passers-by to cast a ballot on whether a specific model was, for instance, "Fat or Fab" or "Wrinkled or Wonderful", with the aftereffects of the votes powerfully refreshed and showed on the board itself alongside with the commercials there was a distribution of the "Dove Report", a corporate report which Unilever expected to make another meaning of magnificence which will free ladies from self-question and urge them to grasp their genuine excellence."

Dove targeted feminists and body positive feminists too with the help of this campaign other than just a youthful audience. This gave them more publicity too as feminists and body positive feminists decided to promote the campaign which led to an even larger audience. The reach of this campaign was so widespread that all over the world. They even created an app named “The Dove Ad Makeover” App that notifies participants when an ad story has been published, allows them to choose keywords to describe other women whose ad stories have been published along with the ability to send the app to their friends' timeline.

Using Facebook as their main platform to launch and host this campaign was a good idea as Facebook was one of the first social media platforms that kept track of what advertisements you view and filters and features advertisements based on your preferences. This campaign encouraged women to say goodbye to ads about muffin tops and belly bulges, and hello to positive beauty messaging. We chose to use Facebook because of its power and reach in social media, to propel these positive beauty messages to as many women as possible”, said by Fernando Machado, the Global Vice President, at Dove Brand Development for Unilever. (Münter, 2016).

However, this campaign was run entirely based on social media and along with social media PR comes social media crises, and Dove could not escape from social media crisis either. In this era, consumers are socially aware which makes it much easier for PR Campaigns to backfire, which seemed to happen with Dove too. The fact remains that once any content is uploaded on any social media platform, it can never be completely erased, even if it has been deleted. This means that consumers cannot seem to forget about any bad publicity, even if they want to, as some or the other article/website will remind them of it which increases the negative impact of bad publicity and/or PR. Last year, when Dove put up an advertisement for a body wash where a black woman removes her t-shirt to feature a white woman underneath, a social media dispute was raised, leading to their thirteen-year long “Real Beauty” campaign. Dove, however, decided to tackle this situation quite smartly. They released a statement saying “An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused.” (Slawson, 2017)

Dove's campaign continuous to boost up women's confidence, yet there are some steps took by the company which was questioned back at them since they were contradicting their own goals of that specific campaign. Many have brought up this issue for a considerable length of time that Dove's message of helping to promote a woman's body clashes with promotions from Axe, a male-arranged toiletry mark claimed by Dove's parent organization, Unilever. Moreover, it has been criticized say that Dove's promotions were hypocritic and they contradicted themselves, focusing on the excellence business while pushing magnificence items.

Be that as it may, as far back as those advertisements showed up, promoted critics and customers have been pondering about how Unilever squares this publicizing with publicizing for Axe, whose sexual advertisements regularly highlight partially dressing, expectedly wonderful ladies who are enticed by men utilizing Axe items. "How could a similar organization that propelled Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty, commending ladies' common appearance over media generalizations, be behind the seemingly debasing delineations of females in promotions for Axe?" (Austen-Smith et al., 2017)

Dove reacts to these reactions by taking note of that each Unilever brand's promoting endeavors "are tailored to reflect the unique interests and needs of its audience," as Dove Skin Vice President Fernando Machado writes in an email to U.S. News. (Kurtzleben, 2013)

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is completely promoting splendor. It has prompted infer that the crusade was in reality powerful as far as both society and the brand. This campaign was a success, as Dove went beyond rebranding and though about the criticism before launching the campaign and where hence prepared to “actually do something to change what is happening” rather than just raising the topic. In 2004 Dove created a fund in order to partner with various organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Girl Scouts and Girls Inc. to hold discussions about topics like online bullying and photography projects capturing the beauty girls see in the world around them. (Herrara, 2012). The cause of marketing was the most effective way towards the rebranding of the image by speaking to a more youthful, wealthier female focus on that is well on the way to utilize spending influence to help a brand behind a reason. The extension of effort was done on the budget by free publicity and PR of course, along these lines viably contending with the vast offer of market of other excellence brands. Dove effectively spent just a single fifth of a typical individual consideration item dispatch on their firming moisturizers, however created a 2.3% share increase in the market almost in half a year. “Last year, when the range comprised only one product, just 280,000 bottles of Dove firming cream were sold, but now the range has been expanded to include shower gels and body gels sales have risen to 2.3 million in six months.” (Brook, 2004)

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