Changing the Face of Beauty, Changing the Rules of Marketing: The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty
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AbstractIn September 2004, Dove® launched its Campaign for Real Beauty (CFRB) with the aim of establishing a more inclusive definition of beauty worldwide— one that would eradicate the narrow beauty ideals and standards that deliver a corrupt and self-damaging message to females while setting unrealistic expectations for their physical appearances. For the past 10 years, Dove has employed several phases of the CFRB in effort to pursue its mission of encouraging not only its customers, but the masses, to develop more positive relationships with their physical appearances, elevate their self-esteems, and recognize their self-worth. Over the years, Dove has implemented several phases as a part of the CFRB so as to fulfill its vision and mission associated with empowering women. These efforts include selecting a group of models to represent the brand that were made up of “real” women exhibiting a range of body types, creating and disseminating short films that discredit beauty ideals and promote self-esteem, partnering with nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in order to encourage women worldwide to support their mission, and establishing the Dove Self-Esteem fund to finance its efforts. Critics of the CFRB argue that Dove has been unsuccessful in fulfilling its intended mission, which could be consider demoralized because it is fundamentally motivated by corporate interests and profit gain. Some might consider Dove’s message flawed in the way that it parallels self-esteem with physical appearance, and is promoted by models that could be deemed objectively “physically attractive.” Dove’s parent company, Unilever, has also been accused of undermining the Dove mission through its sexist advertising of the Axe brand. However, this project argues that, despite what could be considered flaws in its execution, the campaign has attained success. Dove has encouraged and generated an ongoing, open, honest, and debatable conversation about females’ relationships with their bodies. The Campaign for 4 Real Beauty is productive in its intention to broaden the definition of beauty and depict “beautiful” as an attainable and unconstrained portrayal of all women, thus increasing self-esteem among female consumers, by encompassing a social mission that extends beyond the scope of advertising, product lines, and profits.