Unilever's "Real Beauty" Campaign for Dove

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG155
Case Length : 27 Pages
Period : 2004-2006
Organization : Unilever Plc.
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : Europe, USA
Industry : FMCG (Personal Care)

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

As of 2005, Dove was the world's largest cleansing brand with annual sales of 2.5 billion euros in more than 80 countries. Dove's product portfolio included soap bars, body washes, face care products, antiperspirant/deodorants, hair care products, and styling aids...

Dove Listens to Women

In early 2004, Dove conducted a global study on the perceptions and attitudes of women with regard to their personal beauty and well-being. The study was done in partnership with StrategyOne and in collaboration with Nancy Etcoff (Etcoff) and the Massachusetts General Hospital /Harvard University Program in Aesthetics and Well Being, and Susie Orbach (Orbach) of the London School of Economics.

The study surveyed around 3,200 women from 10 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, the UK, and the US), in the age group of 18 to 64...

"Let's Celebrate Curves"

In April 2004, when Unilever initially launched its new Dove Firming Lotion in the UK, it decided to try out a new marketing approach. The ads named "Let's celebrate curves," featured six women of various body types in their underwear. The ad was photographed by Ian Rankin (Rankin), a leading fashion and celebrity photographer. The advertising was designed by O&M and the PR was handled by Edelman. (Refer to Exhibit III for Dove's ad for Firming Lotion)...

Going Global

In September 29, 2004, Dove formally launched the global campaign called "Campaign for Real Beauty" (Refer to Table I for Dove's campaign manifesto). The ad campaign was designed by O&M and the PR was handled by Edelman. The integrated campaign strove to raise consciousness of the issues surrounding beauty and to challenge long-held stereotypes. According to the company, the campaign was "intended to make more women feel beautiful everyday -celebrating diversity and real women by challenging today's stereotypical view of beauty."...

Dove Continues to Listen and Act

In 2005, Dove commissioned another global study to understand the perceptions of women with regard to beauty. Around 3,300 women, between the ages of 15 and 64, were interviewed in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and the US. This study further reaffirmed the findings of the previous study conducted in 2004...

Continuously Evolving the Campaign

Dove aired a commercial during the Super Bowl XL (Super Bowl) in February 5, 2006, for the DSEF. The 45-second spot showed images of small girls who were dissatisfied with their looks. For instance, a girl with freckles 'Hates her freckles', a girl with black hair 'Wishes she were blonde', a thin girl was 'Afraid she's fat?' etc...

A Step in the Right Direction?

Many people, including experts, appreciated Dove's efforts toward changing perceptions of beauty in advertising through the use of refreshing ads that made women feel good about themselves. (Refer to Figure I for the results from a survey titled, "What do you think of 'real women' ad campaigns?")...

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