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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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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Defying Beauty Stereotypes Contd...

The campaign raised a nationwide debate on beauty stereotypes in the countries it was launched. The growth in sales for the Dove brand was also phenomenal. It was reported that after the campaign, the sale of Firming Lotion in the UK rose by 700 percent.6

In the first phase, CFRB was started with the intention of only positioning the Dove brand and featured no products. It showed five images of women of different shapes, sizes and ages, who were each beautiful in their own way, but did not fit in with the conventional beauty stereotypes. Each of these ads was posted on billboards and the print media and the public were asked to make judgment about the looks of the women.

For instance, an ad showing a woman with gray hair asked the public to choose between "Gray" and "Gorgeous?" The public were invited to the website Campaignforrealbeauty.com (CFRB website) to participate in the poll and take part in discussions about what constitutes beauty. Interactive billboards were also set up at Times Square in New York, USA, to increase participation. In addition to this, a Self-Esteem Fund was started for young girls to protect and bolster their self-esteem through various tools, programs and funds.

The ads for the Firming range in the US were the second phase of the CFRB. The ads sparked off a debate in the media. Ogilvy & Mather's7 (O&M) marketing director Philippe Harousseau (Harousseau) said. "Some people are surprised, even shocked. ...We decided to bring this campaign to life because the survey told us women were ready for it."8 Though many people felt that these ads were a step in the right direction, there were others who felt that the campaign was contradictory in nature. On the one hand, the campaign was asking women to celebrate who they really were, and on the other, the ads were aimed at selling a range of products that would help women reduce their cellulite (or body fat)...

Excerpts >>

6] Stephen Brook, "96-years-old Stars in Beauty Ads," www.media.guardian.co.uk, January 4, 2005.

7] Ogilvy & Mather is a leading advertising agency with a presence in more than 120 countries across the world. It is a subsidiary of WPP Group Plc., a global marketing communications corporation.

8] "Dove 'Real Beauty' Campaign Getting Under Your Skin?" www.msmusings.net, July 21, 2005.


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