Dove Campaign for Real Beauty Case Study
By: Melinda Brodbeck and Erin Evans
Presented March 5, 2007
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty (CFRB) began in England in 2004 when Dove’s sales declined as a result of being lost in a crowded market. Unilever, Dove’s parent company, went to Edelman, its PR agency, for a solution. Together, they conceived a campaign that focused not on the product, but on a way to make women feel beautiful regardless of their age and size.
The following summer, CFRB was brought to the United States and Canada. CRFB aimed not only to increase sales of Dove beauty products, but also targeted women of all ages and shapes. According to the CFRB ...view middle of the document...
Interviews were conducted across ten countries: the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Italy, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina and Japan.
The study evolved out of a desire to talk to women around the world about female beauty. According to the study, “Dove knows that the relationship women have with beauty is complex: it can be powerful and inspiring, but elusive and frustrating as well. We sponsored this study in order to probe more deeply into this intricate relationship. Dove wanted to understand how women define beauty; how satisfied they are with their beauty; how they feel about female beauty’s portrayal in society; and, how beauty affects their well-being.” This was the first comprehensive study of its kind.
The following statistics are a sampling of results from the study:
• Only 2% of these women describe themselves as “beautiful”
• About 3/4 of them rate their beauty as "average"
• Almost 1/2 of them think their weight is "too high"
The previous findings are particularly the case in the U.S. (60%), Great Britain (57%) and Canada (54%).
• Almost half of all women (48%) strongly agreed (8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point scale) with the statement that: “When I feel less beautiful, I feel worse about myself in general.”
• Just 13% of all women say they are very satisfied with their beauty, 12% with their physical attractiveness, 17% with their facial attractiveness and 13% with their body weight and shape.
• The study revealed that women see beauty and physical attractiveness as increasingly socially mandated and rewarded. Almost two-thirds strongly agreed that: “Women today are expected to be more physically attractive than their mother’s generation was” (63%); and, “Society expects women to enhance their physical attractiveness” (60%).
Larry Koffler, the senior vice president of consumer brands at Edelman, maintained that the research was vital to the campaign: “Without having a foundation in the global research study, which showed that the image of beauty was unattainable, we wouldn’t have had the credibility in creating the materials, in pitching stories and being able to answer some of the folks that didn’t agree with the campaign.”
After the initial study, Dove commissioned two more studies, one in 2005 and one in 2006. The additional information furthered Dove’s research about women’s perceptions of beauty across several cultures.
The later studies revealed the following data:
• 90% of all women 15-64 worldwide want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance (with body weight ranking the highest).
• 67% of all women 15 to 64 withdraw from life-engaging activities due to feeling badly about their looks (among them things like giving an opinion, going to school, going to the doctor).
• 61% of all women and 69% of girls (15 to 17) feel that their mother has had a positive influence on their feelings about themselves and their beauty.
• 91% feel the media and advertising need...