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Advertising Analysis: Real Beauty Sketches by Dove Research Paper


Over the last decade, versatile social media and the Internet, in general, have become extremely popular as the targets for advertisement and marketing campaigns since many users and potential customers tend to spend more time browsing the net than watching TV or reading magazines. In that way, today, the companies that pursue marketing success and attempt to attract new clients employ social media to communicate with their consumer segment and promote their brands and products.

In reality, the Internet is a field of endless opportunities for the creative advertisement campaigns because it facilitates the marketers’ connections with all types of consumers and the opportunities for the research in the consumer trends, interests, and tastes. The focus of this report is the campaign launched by Dove several years ago called Real Beauty Sketches. The campaign is known for becoming viral shortly after being released, gaining great success, and being named the most frequently viewed ad video of 2013 (Toure par. 1). The report will analyze the type of campaign, its social impacts, the media channel it relied on, its AIDA Model, and the STPD strategy.

Campaign Overview

Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches is an advertisement campaign made in the form of a short video that features a professional forensic artist who works for the FBI. Throughout the video, the artist does sketches of women based on their self-descriptions and then another series of drawings of the same women, but based on the descriptions given by the people who just met them. The final results are shown to each of the women so that they can see the difference in the way they describe themselves and the way the strangers see them.

It turns out that the portraits created based on the descriptions of the strangers are much softer, more flattering, and pleasant-looking than those drawn according to self-descriptions. In that way, the advertisement carries the core message informing the viewers that often they are very harsh and critical of themselves whereas, in reality, they are all beautiful in unique ways.

Type of Advertisement and Channels Used

The Real Beauty Sketches is a video advertisement that was placed using YouTube as the primary media channel and became viral within the first few weeks of being launched. In particular, it earned over 55 million views and was shared by many users. Dove is known for videos targeting the female audience primarily using empowering and touching messages. The Real Beauty Sketches is the fourth ad campaign of this type created by Dove.

This video, just like the other three, intended to address such issues as the social pressure on women, body image and self-esteem, artificially fixed standards of beauty, and self-perception. In 2013, Stampler stated that this video could be named one of the leading online campaigns in terms of the response of the viewers; majorly, this level of success was achieved because the video was placed simultaneously on thirty-three YouTube channels owned by Dove and translated into twenty-five languages (par. 2).

Also, the campaign was promoted using seeding based in the brick-and-mortar stores where Dove products were sold, as well as their websites and webpages. This is a clever idea to use seeding as a technique complementary to the major type of advertisement (video) that stimulates the consumers’ interest to the ad and raises their awareness of the campaign (Liu-Thompkins 59).

Phases of Consumer Behavior (AIDA Model)

The video of the campaign carries a very clear empowering and awareness-raising key. As a result, it is possible to conclude that two of the elements of the AIDA Model are pursued – attention and interest. Knowing that the campaign was developed specifically for the Internet, the marketers of Dove had to face the challenges of the online advertisement – its ubiquitous presence that makes them annoying to the users of websites so they begin to use advertisement-blocking applications or simply ignore the ads (Hinz et al. 1).

Moreover, Baltes emphasizes the importance and quality of the content selected by the companies for the marketing campaigns of their products and brands (114). To be more precise, surrounded by all types of advertisements, the contemporary users of the Internet have learned not to react to ad banners and messages. That way, the advertisement is to capture their attention and interest to become noticed and shared. This was the strategy chosen by Dove; and according to its result, the marketers were very successful.

In particular, the video under discussion uses the self-esteem boosting message for the female viewers and does it in a very touching manner so that the viewers not only become impressed by the video but also feel the need to share it with their friends. In that way, the main technique used in the video is the appeal to emotion. This technique can be opposed to the reason-based methods of persuasion (Hua 67).

In particular, the emotion that the advertisement evokes tends to be associated with the viewers with the product that is promoted. As a result, products and brands stop being the goods only but become the entities comprised of the consumers’ perceptions and ideas that determine how well they sell (Yen, Lin, and Lin 59). In the Real Beauty Sketches video, none of the featured people mention Dove or the names of any of its products, so it can be viewed as the surrogate advertisement (similar to those of liquor).

However, the video is strongly associated with the brand. The colors used in the video are mainly of cold range and typical for the Dove’s brand – white, blue, and gold; there is a lot of light, and the background music is soothing so the overall mood of the video is serene but slightly sad to portray the emotions of the women in it – quiet and pleasant surprise immediately followed by the realization that they have been too critical of themselves. The only text the video includes is its final message that says “You are more beautiful than you think” in the font traditionally used by Dove in all of its advertisements. In that way, the brand or product name does not appear anywhere in the video but yet it is associated with the brand.

Social Impacts

At the official website of Dove, there is a statement that only 11% of women all around the world can confidently admit that they consider themselves beautiful, which means that the vast majority of women are dissatisfied with the way they look and feel the pressure to look better (Dove par. 4). This statement reflects how high the social pressure on women is and how much it affects them in everyday life making them stress out over the issues that are turned into a problem artificially.

Using the advertisement videos such as The Real Beauty Sketches, Dove is attempting to raise the global society’s awareness of the problematic social trend that is harming at least 50% of humanity daily. Dove’s social impact is the provision of emotional support to women using expressing solidarity and demonstrating that they should be more open-minded and less critical of their faces and bodies because the artificially created beauty standards exist only in the fashion magazines, whereas in reality, people are capable of recognizing the diverse beauty and appreciating it.

STPD Strategy

STPD strategies are comprised of four concepts – segmentation, targeting, positioning, and differentiation. Dove’s video is oriented at the primarily female segment of the consumer base and targets women of all ages, and in particular, the ones who suffer from low self-esteem due to their appearances. Through the advertisement, the brand positions itself as accepting and embracive of all types of looks. Dove attempts to create the point of difference juxtaposing itself to all the other companies manufacturing beauty products as the one that battles the artificially established beauty standards and views its customers and unique and beautiful offering support and understanding.


The initial goals of The Real Beauty Sketches campaign by Dove were to appeal to the strong emotion of the female audience of all ages and offer a touching message about the uniqueness and beauty of each woman as a technique to persuade the viewers that the brand cares about their wellbeing and happiness. Goals were achieved by Dove because the video went viral very soon after being released, earned over 50 million views during the first few weeks, and then doubled this result in a couple of months. The popularity of the campaign indicates that the viewers were touched by it and wanted to share it with others.

Works Cited

Baltes, Loredana. “Content marketing – the fundamental tool of digital marketing.” Economic Sciences 8.57 (2015): 111-118. Print.

Dove. . 2016. Web.

Hinz, Olver, Bernd Skiera, Christian Barrot, and Jan Becker. “Seeding Strategies for Viral Marketing: An Empirical Comparison.” Journal of Marketing (2012): 1-50. Print.

Hua, Xian-Sheng. Online Multimedia Advertising: Techniques and Technologies. Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global, 2011. Print.

Liu-Thompkins, Yuping. “Seeding Viral Content the Role of Message and Network Factors.” Journal of Advertising Research (2012): 59-72. Print.

Stampler, Laura. . 2013. Web.

Toure, Malika. . 2013. Web.

Yen, Hui Yun, Po Hsien Lin, and Rungtai Lin. “Emotional Product Design and Perceived Brand Emotion.” International Journal of Advances in Psychology 3.2 (2014): 59-65. Print.

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"Advertising Analysis: Real Beauty Sketches by Dove." IvyPanda, 12 Oct. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/advertising-analysis-real-beauty-sketches-by-dove/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Advertising Analysis: Real Beauty Sketches by Dove." October 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/advertising-analysis-real-beauty-sketches-by-dove/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Advertising Analysis: Real Beauty Sketches by Dove'. 12 October.

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