Dove Campaign For Real Beauty

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty (CFRB) began in England in 2004 when Dove’s sales declined as a result of being lost in a crowded market. Unilever, Dove’s parent company, went to Edelman, its PR agency, for a solution. Together, they conceived a campaign that focused not on the product, but on a way to make women feel beautiful regardless of their age and size.

The following summer, CFRB was brought to the United States and Canada. CRFB aimed not only to increase sales of Dove beauty products, but also targeted women of all ages and shapes. According to the CFRB website, “The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a global effort that is intended to serve as a starting point for societal change and act as a catalyst for widening the definition and discussion of beauty. The campaign supports the Dove mission: to make women feel more beautiful every day by challenging today’s stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women to take great care of themselves.”

In addition to changing women’s view of their bodies, Dove also aimed to change the beauty market. In an industry where the standard of beauty is often a size two blonde supermodel, Dove distinguished itself by using models that ranged from size six to fourteen. CRFB abandoned the conventional cynical method of portraying “perfect” women as beauty role models.

Campaign Research:

Dove commissioned The Real Truth About Beauty study as a way to explore what beauty means to women today. StrategyOne, an applied research firm, managed the study in conjunction with Dr. Nancy Etcoff and Massachusetts General Hospital- Harvard University, and with consultation of Dr. Susie Orbach of the London School of Economics. Between February 27, 2004 and March 26, 2004, the global study collected data from 3,200 women, aged 18 to 64. Interviews were conducted across ten countries: the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Italy, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina and Japan.

The study evolved out of a desire to talk to women around the world about female beauty. According to the study, “Dove knows that the relationship women have with beauty is complex: it can be powerful and inspiring, but elusive and frustrating as well. We sponsored this study in order to probe more deeply into this intricate relationship. Dove wanted to understand how women define beauty; how satisfied they are with their beauty; how they feel about female beauty’s portrayal in society; and, how beauty affects their well-being.”

This was the first comprehensive study of its kind.

Campaign Objectives:

• Increase sales of Dove beauty products and new product lines

• Create dialogue, debate, and discussion about the true meaning of beauty

• Attract national TV and print media coverage

• Gain local press attention in the hometowns of models featured throughout the campaign

• Drive users to the CFRB Web site to share their thoughts and opinions about the campaign and beauty stereotypes

• Create a call to action for consumers to join the movement through website pledge that activate a donation by Dove for self-esteem awareness programs

Campaign Examples:

Dove launched a global advertising campaign including:


Dove placed mobile billboards in major cities. Each billboard challenged women’s notions of beauty by encouraging them to cast their votes online. A featured interactive billboard, located in New York’s Times Square, highlighted and kept a running tally of the votes submitted for the “Wrinkled? Wonderful?” ad.


Interviews on major television shows such as: Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Early Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View and Oprah.


Women can visit and cast their votes on the questions raised in the ad campaign. The website also allows women to partake in ongoing dialogue about beauty by posting to discussion boards, downloading several research studies about beauty, and hearing and reading what women around the world have to say.

The Unstoppable Girl Movement:

In April of 2013, Dove started a social mission to create the “Unstoppable Girl”. The girl that won’t feel pressured by daily societal judgment.  It also inspires mothers to have conversations with their daughters about having an active lifestyle with nutritious a diet and daily exercise.

TV Commercials:

Dove aired many commercials to reach the target audience, including an ad during Super Bowl 2006 and the world premier as part of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.

Social Media Ads:

Dove circulated numerous other video advertisements and press clips via YouTube and other social media platforms.