Introduction and overall evaluation
The Dove 2004 campaign was a step in the right direction. Not only did women get a chance to challenge standards of beauty through advertisements, but they engaged in conversations about the same in various forums. Many women are highly apprehensive about their bodies, and these insecurities often start in school.
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Therefore, it was laudable that Dove sponsored self esteem workshops for school girls. The cosmetic industry’s definition is quite narrow. Therefore, the campaign was an attempt to expand this definition beyond stereotypes. The numerous photographs the company displayed in the campaign sent the message that beauty is attainable and unique to an individual.
On that basis, it was indeed reasonable for the company to pursue such a strategy. As a leading consumer products retailer, Dove has the resources and the marketing advantage to change the conversation on beauty. It can make images of female beauty a celebration of women’s diversity rather than an endorsement of one narrow representation of the same.
Critics affirm that Dove has no right to use moral marketing because some of their products contradict this message. For instance, the organization sells anti-wrinkle cream, yet its advertisements try to pass old women as beautiful and acceptable. Furthermore, it retouched the so-called real women that were involved in the campaign.
The question one must ask is whether women should keep buying beauty products from conventional advertisers, who contribute towards unrealistic standards of beauty, or buy them from those that embrace non stereotypical beauty. Women want consumer products to enhance their beauty. Sometimes this may involve eradication of spots or wrinkles.
Therefore, critics should not crucify Dove for this. After all, it is a for-profit organization that must sell products. It is quite possible for a company to market itself as an ethical one. Once the idea is entrenched in people’s minds, then customers would purchase Dove’s products.
The organization can tackle some of the negative fallout from the campaign by playing by its own rules. If it is criticizing other organizations for retouching their models, then it should not do the same; all models must be completely natural. Furthermore, the company should not just promote self esteem in North America and do the opposite in other countries. Dove’s real beauty campaign must be in tandem with other messages that it is spreading around the world.
The first impression
The first impression of the material was that it was different – even defiant. The nude images of unconventionally attractive women were quite arresting. One immediately wants to know what the advertisements are about. Clearly, when it comes to attention-grabbing, this campaign was on point. Other than that, they seem to be saying something different from conventional advertisers.
They are not causing self doubt among women by displaying impossible ideals. At surface value, the campaign seems brave and noble. The viral videos that feature teenagers and how they feel about their bodies are also quite extraordinary. Some of the girls felt skinny, yet their features were nowhere close to that characteristic (Dove, n.d.).
Others discussed how difficult it was to feel beautiful because their classmates criticized them for whatever quality they possessed; be it thin or fat. The honesty in the mini features was admirable and something refreshing from the beauty industry. In fact, their comments were quite relatable to most women.
Strengths and weaknesses of the campaign
The key strength of the campaign is that it uses naturally-shaped models. They seem to be having fun, and are sending the message that they have embraced who they are.
Marketing of beauty products aims to cause anxiety while this promotion appears to dissipate it. It is laudable that the firm involved a diverse array of women. Some were black and others white; it had old and young models too. The company stretched the limits with regard to self esteem by offering women an alternative to conventional definitions of beauty (Dove Canada, n.d.).
One of the obvious weaknesses of the campaign is that some of the women in the campaign appear air brushed. While most of them were curvy women, none of them had stretch marks, spots or wrinkles. One would also argue that the advertisement was objectifying women by displaying them in their underwear.
Critics would campaign if typical, skinny women were posing in their inner ware. However, the same is not always true for slightly unattractive women. It is also hypocritical that the company is selling firming lotion in the campaign yet it is asking women to accept who they are.
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Rating the campaign
Since the campaign reached a wide audience and was responsible for sales increases of up to $500 million, then one can assert that it was highly successful. However, the controversy and the negative backlash in 2007 and 2010 neutralized these gains substantially. In 2007, renowned digital photographer Pascal Dangin revealed that the pictures of all the women in Dove campaign were retouched.
Additionally, in 2010, the organization made a casting call for models in the real beauty campaign. However, they were quite hypocritical about this aspect, as well, since they were very prescriptive on what they defined as a real woman. The casting call at Craig’s list wanted women who had flawless skin as well as other conventional beauty features. Individuals felt that the company was saying one thing in public and propagating the same superficialities privately.
This illustrates that the company did not simply have altruistic goals in mind. One may have to accept that the organization’s key goal is to make profits. My objection to the advert may emanate from a need to separate commercial activities from charitable ones.
However, it is possible to merge these two intentions if the audience adopts a less cynical approach (Traister, 2005). The company contributes towards a culture of positive self image while at the same sells its products. The beauty industry is inundated with images of hyper sexualized women. Any company that does the opposite is definitely a welcome entity.
The market segment for the campaign will consist of young to middle-aged women between the ages of eighteen to thirty five. This segment was selected because they are some of the most insecure consumers in the population. They frequently struggle with acceptance and self esteem in school as well as their workplaces (Mediasmarts, n.d.).
Older women tend to have accepted their bodies, so they do not need further convincing concerning how beautiful they are. The idea behind the approach is that while Dove may be selling beauty products, which change people’s appearance, it is doing so in a way that celebrates rather than shuns real beauty. The beauty industry may have a long way to go in terms of overcoming these stereotypes, but Dove is initiating this change.
The company intends on selling itself as an ethical company. The promotions will send messages to young girls that they are worth something. At the same time, the continual display of the Dove brand at the end of each promotional media campaign will cause the name to stick in people’s mind. As people head to supermarkets, then they will experience brand recall and probably purchase the company’s products.
This time, none of the models will be carefully picked. If they all seem physically attractive, then the company will be blamed for cherry picking. Additionally, non controversial products like soap will be sold in the campaign. Customers criticized the organization for selling anti-aging products in the 2004 real beauty promotion. Therefore, this time it will only focus on products that all women need as basic needs.
The promotion will be an extension of the 2004 campaign. However, this time it will eliminate all the controversy surrounding the first attempt. First, the company will not do any retouching to make the models more attractive. In fact, the campaign will focus on natural beauty. The heart of the promotion will be a reality video that shows what real beauty is. Everything from the casting call, to the photo sessions as well as other elements of the photo shoot will be recorded.
The campaign will focus on the stories of five women who overcame great odds in life. The video will be available on YouTube as well as several partner television stations. Voices of the women will also be part of a radio station advert. After the photo shoot, Dove will spend time with these women for one full day.
When doing so, photographers will take shots of instances in which these women demonstrated real beauty. Thereafter, one photo will be selected for a billboard and it will be a non-altered version of the person in the interview (Feron, 2008). All the media platforms selected will end with the following phrases; Embrace your natural beauty with Dove!
It should be noted that the Dove brand will appear two times in the advertisement; at the beginning of the video and at the end. The beginning will have this advertisement because they will know which company is sponsoring the self esteem workshops. At the end of video, it will display the company’s name in order to imprint in customers’ minds the ethical nature of the organization’s initiative.
In keeping with earlier themes, the campaign will also entail a series of workshops that will feature high-profile speakers. These will be women who have written books about self love and acceptance. Motivational speakers who have experience in the field will also be selected for the campaign. The events will take place statewide using a road trip to market the ideas.
Material will also be available on the internet through banner ads for the workshops. These ads will be available on websites that focus on beauty. For instance, websites for skin lightening, growing long hair, smooth skin and other topics will be selected. They will target those online visitors because they probably have low self esteem.
Print media will consist of magazines and newspapers, where images of the five ladies in the campaign will be displayed.
Development of all promotional materials
The first media platform is a viral video. It will be available on YouTube, the company website a well as radio and television stations. This media platform was selected because it worked very well in 2004 since it struck a chord with most listeners. The internet as a media platform will work through banner ads with pictures of the subjects in the campaign.
Billboards will also be another platform where pictures of the women will be splashed across several streets in town. Only those places with lots of traffic will be selected for this purpose. However, because the nudity of the women in the 2004 campaign sparked off a lot of controversy, it will be best to use billboards with fully-clothed women.
It is likely that the new marketing campaign will yield effective results because it addresses most of the controversies in the 2004 promotion. First, no retouching, airbrushing or cherry picking will take place. Secondly, the message will be propagated across the globe. Additionally, no controversial products will be linked to the campaign. Finally, all the women will be fully clothed so as to eliminate criticism on how the campaign objectified women by displaying nude women.
Dove Canada. Self-Esteem Resources. Web.
Dove. Dove Evolution Video. Dove Campaign for Real Beauty Ads. Web.
Feron, G. (2008). Glen Feron – The Art of Retouching. Web.
Mediasmarts. Media Portrayals of Girls and Women. Web.
Traister, R. (2005). “Real beauty” – or really smart marketing? Web.