What is Dove’s message of “real” beauty?


~Photo Credit: http://www.aldedra.ro/Producatori

Dove’s intentions of their campaign advertisement were to raise women’s self-esteem and show “real” women in their “natural” beauty. “Real”.  That’s the main word that Dove uses to describe their campaign advertisement—“Campaign for real women”. What concerns me is the fact that Dove was promoting real and natural beauty and yet they had to photo-shop the real women that they portray on screen even though that is what they are trying to prove does not need to be done to make women beautiful.

Photo Credit~http://hbkcute.deviantart.com/art/Photoshop-CC-Logo-383984784

As cited in the Public Relations Society of America member Code of Ethics by Plaisance (2014) is is imperative to, “be honest and accurate in all communications” and “avoid deceptive practices” (p.74). This ethical dilemma of photo shopping the women breaks these two points in the code. I find this to be a huge issue since not only is Dove not being transparent and not living up to the campaign advertisement but they are also breaking the public relations code of ethics.

Dove is also being immorally unethical because they are owned by the company Unilever who also owns the company Axe.according to ,   “Many have pointed out for years that Dove’s message of promoting women’s body images conflicts with ads from Axe, a male-oriented toiletry brand owned by Dove’s parent company, Unilever” (pg. 2, 2013). Axe offers a completely opposite view of this campaign. The Axe campaign tells men to buy their product because women will chase after them if they wear Axe.

Transparency is all about the interaction of others according to Plaisance (2014). I find Dove’s campaign advertisement to go against transparency because it does not serve as a positive interaction for its customers. Their campaign advertisement is deceptive and is not an honest depiction of real and natural women as they claim due to the photo shop editing. The only reason that this is a huge deal is because their whole campaign is to create natural beauty and they go against this by using photo shop themselves.


Kurtzleben, D. (2013)  Do Dove and Axe Sell the Same Message?: Dove’s feel-good campaign is a lesson in the trickiness of branding. http://www.usnews.com. Retrieved from: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/04/18/unilever-faces-criticism-for-real-beauty-ad-campaign. web.

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

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