Blog Post Case in Study: Dove Campaign for “Real Beauty”

Mary Sansone

What I think is wonderful about the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign is the fact they truly go out of their way to show their customers real women by reminding us that no one looks like the models on the billboards because not even the models on the billboards look like them in reality. Photoshop is used constantly in advertising. Magazines, TV ads, Internet ads have all been retouched and edited. The real beauty that exists in the world has been distorted because of the portrayal of women in the media has been brought up to such high standards of models such as Victoria’s Secret. Dove took beauty and brought it back to reality in their Dove “Real Beauty” campaign.

The Dove commercial “Evolution” from 2006 that was shared in class of the women going through extreme make-up and photoshop process was the stepping stone and eye opener to the audience of their campaign. It told the truth. Philosopher Kant explains that “Lying and acts of deception become concrete assaults on the innate dignity that we all require as humans” (Plaisance, 2014, p. 85). The media is not lying to consumers with their words, but they are lying to us with images they present, giving unrealistic representations of women and ultimately leading to women not feeling beautiful.

This campaign has been successfully continuing on for almost ten years. In 2013, Dove took advertising to the next level. They released the “Real Beauty Sketches” ad, which shows women describing their appearances to a FBI  forensic sketch artist behind a curtain. According to Nina Bahadur from the Huffington Post (2014) it became the most-viewed video ad of all time. It brought reality and emotions to the media and to their loyal customers, reminding them that they are all beautiful.

Dove also released a billboard ad of “real”, diverse women in their underwear. They are natural, realistic, and not the typical model type one would see today on the media. One of the models from the campaign said “ ‘I grep up not being happy with my body shape and size at all,’ [Gina] Crisanti told NBC News in 2005. ‘I hated being curvy. I hated having big breasts. And I hated having curly hair. In my 20s, I realized all those [ideas] were simply self-destructive. Once I started to develop an alternative definition of beauty, all of it started to fall into place.” (Bahadur, 2014).  These advertisement have made a difference to women and the rebranding idea was genis and a must. Sharon MacLeod, vice president of UNilever Norh America Personal Care and on the team behind Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign told Huffington Post “ ‘We can’t just be getting people stirred up; awareness and conversation isn’t enough. We actually have to do something to change what’s happening.’” (Bahadur, 2014). And so, the Dove team spread awareness by showing the media what is done in photoshop (the Evolution ad) and continued the idea by carrying out the campaign in multiple ads.

I have always bought Dove products, but this campaign made me respect and trust them even more. It was a great idea to really sell their product, bring attention to their brand, and gain more customers.


Bahadur, Nina. “Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign Turns 10: How A Brand Tried To Change The Conversation About Female Beauty.” The Huffington Post., 21 Jan. 2014. Retrieved from <;.

Plaisance, P. (2014). Media Ethics: key Principles for Responsible Practice. United States, Sage Publications. Print.

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