Dove: Choose Beautiful
Developing an insight based global value exchange for a new generation of Dove women.
In 2004, Dove made headlines with their ‘Real Beauty’ campaign. For the first time, a beauty brand showed what women really look like, and defied convention by proclaiming this was the definition of beauty.
You don’t change the world with a single ad campaign, though. You may start a revolution, but you need to keep pushing.
And to do that now, what you need above all is an engagement strategy which is relevant across borders and for all women.
We created it for Dove, which connected women in 70 countries, and turned a campaign into a movement. Real women come in all shapes and sizes, and that’s beautiful. Most beauty brands make women unhappy with how they look. Dove does the opposite. The brand promise is to help you show how beautiful you truly are, not change you to fit others’ idea of female perfection.
It follows that Dove is a brand that listens to real women. One of our goals was to hear them, and let them influence the content of our communications. Dove is of course a commercial brand, so our strategy also set goals for sales of Dove products. Specifically, this involved:
• Building brand equity, making Dove more important to more women, in more markets
• Creating consumer advocacy, by making sure Dove talked about what matters, more often
• Improving consumer share, by involving Dove’s customers
And these became the success criteria by which our campaign would be evaluated and judged.
What do women want?
Dove started with asking women what they want and then provide a place to continue the conversation. And guess what? The information is out there, and it’s perfectly clear. Women do know what they want, and they’re consistent about it, and they act on it. We looked at the existing global research and we looked at what women talk about in social media. We explored the channels and touchpoints where they had their conversations and where they discovered content. We analysed the sentiments expressed and segmented our audience accordingly, to help us with copy and content.
We looked at what had worked in the past, and what women had done in response to previous campaigns. We started our campaign with Choose Beautiful – because we discovered that in many cases women see themselves as average, when instead other women see beauty.
We created a powerful narrative that was started by Dove, but gained momentum when real women were involved.
We developed a sequence of emails that engaged with the consumer through a series of questions. Each question answered triggered a subsequent more personalised email. By asking the consumer what jobs she was looking to get done we showed her that we cared. She responded with engagement rates in the mid to high 30s, despite there being no special offers or discounts.
Then we created a campaign that started with a short film, involving real women from five different markets.
This film was the beginning of a narrative journey across multiple touchpoints that included hearing from other women around the world, compelling stories from experts in psychology, and individual expressions of beauty.
We started with emails, but as it grew, the campaign was activated across YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, All supported through owned channels and a PR and media campaign. To manage a complex engagement campaign we developed toolkits for the markets – so they knew the overall structure – combined with working with the major markets directly and adapting and optimising the campaign as results came in.
In the first two weeks the short film was viewed more than 100 million times across 70 countries. It reached over 5.5 billion impressions, 600,000 shares and more than 150,000 social mentions. The Tumblr page was visited more than 4 million times with an average time on site of three minutes.
Dove started something big back in 2004. We’ve used digital and social media to make it huge. But we’re not done yet. The revolution continues, until every woman knows what real beauty is, and everyone sees it.