The Dove® brand is rooted in listening to women. Based on the findings of a major global study, The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report, Dove® launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004. The campaign started a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty after the study proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable. Among the study’s findings was the statistic that only 2% of women around the world would describe themselves as beautiful. Since 2004, Dove® has employed various communications vehicles to challenge beauty stereotypes and invite women to join a discussion about beauty. In 2010, Dove® evolved the campaign and launched an unprecedented effort to make beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety, with the Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem.
Widening the Definition of Beauty
The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty was created to provoke discussion and encourage debate.
2004: The Campaign for Real Beauty launched in September 2004 with a much talked-about ad campaign featuring real women whose appearances are outside the stereotypical norms of beauty. The ads asked viewers to judge the women’s looks (oversized or outstanding? and wrinkled or wonderful?), and invited them to cast their votes at campaignforrealbeauty.com.
2005: Dove® kicked off the second and most iconic phase of the Campaign for Real Beauty in June 2005, with advertising featuring six real women with real bodies and real curves. The phase of the campaign was created to debunk the stereotype that only thin is beautiful and it drove thousands of women to campaignforrealbeauty.com to discuss beauty issues.
2006: In September 2006, a news and media furor erupted when Spain banned overly thin models from its fashion runways. The debate spoke to the heart of the Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty mission. In response, Dove® produced a compelling short film, Evolution, depicting the transformation of a real woman into a model and promoting awareness of how unrealistic perceptions of beauty are created. As so many girls and young women develop low self-esteem from hang-ups about their looks, and consequently fail to reach their full potential in life, Dove® established the Dove® Self-Esteem Fund. The Dove® Self-Esteem Fund was created to act as an agent of change to inspire and educate girls and women about a wider definition of beauty. This same year, the brand released a commercial called Little Girls during the Super Bowl, reaching an estimated 89 million viewers.
2007: Continuing its ongoing commitment to widen the narrow definition of beauty, Dove® launched the third phase of the Campaign for Real Beauty in February 2007. The Dove® global study, Beauty Comes of Age, revealed that 91% of women ages 50–64 believe it is time for society to change its views about women and aging. The campaign celebrated the essence of women 50+—wrinkles, age spots, grey hair and all. It was brought to life through a communications campaign created with internationally renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. When the Campaign for Real Beauty focused on the idea that girls are bombarded with unrealistic, unattainable images and images of beauty that impact their self-esteem, the brand teamed up with the entertainment industry to show that what girls see in movies and magazines represents an unrealistic standard of beauty. Onslaught, an online film dramatizing the barrage of beauty images girls face, dramatized this point.
A Bold New Vision: The Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem
In 2010, Dove® set out a bold new vision for the brand with the Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem. The Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem provides women everywhere with opportunities to mentor the next generation and celebrate real beauty.
There are many ways to become involved.
Dove® invites women everywhere to join the brand in making its vision a reality.
Together with experts and key partners (in the U.S., Dove® supports the work of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Girls Inc., and Boys & Girls Clubs of America) Dove® has created self-esteem- building, educational programs and activities that encourage, inspire and motivate girls around the world. Dove® has reached over 7 million girls so far with these programs, and set a global goal of reaching 15 million girls by 2015.
In 2011, Dove® released the findings of its largest global study to date on women’s relationship with beauty—The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited. The study revealed that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and that anxiety about looks begins at an early age. In a study of over 1,200 10-to-17-year-olds, a majority of girls, 72%, said they felt tremendous pressure to be beautiful. The study also found that only 11% of girls around the world feel comfortable using the word beautiful to describe their looks, showing that there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls' confidence as they grow older. Though Dove® efforts have moved the needle in a positive direction, there is more to be done.