You knew I would. Weigh in on the new Dove campaign that is. I love the idea of this campaign, which is to redefine what is beauty. The latest tactic in this evolving effort revolves around asking women to describe their faces to an artist, sight-unseen. A friend is similarly asked to describe the same person to the artist and a comparison of the drawings is made. The research shows women being much harder on themselves and their features than are their friends.
The first iteration of the campaign, begun in 2005, showed a number of smiling and confident women in white underoos. The women stretched 6 or 8 across showed a variety of body types, few of which you would find on the cover of Women’s Health or Cosmo. The women’s skin, however, was amazing. (An endemic brand quality.) This new campaign is an evolution of the so-called “real beauty” campaign and it’s important, but I’m not sure it is killing as a soap selling idea. It’s likeable. Heady. Emotional. And a great message. Without the linkage to creating cleaner skin, though, used long term it may prove to be an opportunity lost.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Dove is selling well and this campaign kick starts some retail movement. People may fall in love with the message and appreciate the brand by proxy. But should those same women find a soap that has qualities more agreeable to their skin and cleaning ability, this social statement about beauty will remain appreciated and important — but not necessarily a motivator for purchase. I suggest sticking with the “real beauty” idea Ogilvy, but find an endemic product quality to illuminate. Peace.