top of page
  • Writer's pictureLive Oak Management

Why Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign Was So Successful

By Emily Rogers, Media Analytics Executive

With so many great and successful strategic campaigns out there today, it’s hard to choose just one when it comes to deciding on your favorite. Yet, the first one that has always come to my mind is The Dove Real Beauty Campaign. The campaign challenged every stereotype in the personal care industry all while resonating with their audience. It was raw and emotional and provoked thought and inspiration among people across the world.

The campaign launched in 2004, yet it still stands as one of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time. Real Beauty sparked after Dove surveyed more than 3,000 women in 10 different countries. The survey’s results provided the upsetting statistic that only 2% of women considered themselves beautiful. Dove saw an opportunity to inspire these women to look at beauty in a new way and address the common insecurity issues that many women have.

The campaign first started with billboard advertisements with images of real, diverse women. It left women feeling confident and inspired, ditching their unattainable beauty standards that have previously been advertised in the personal care industry. Too often, other personal care companies advertise unrealistic appearances that cause women to compare themselves to this unachievable standard. Dove simply made people feel good by using positive “realistic” body type examples of women. The campaign as a whole did an excellent job of carrying out the same message, but in different ways.

One way the campaign was carried out was the Dove Real Beauty Sketches, which was released in 2013. The video captured a social experiment in which women were told to describe what they thought they looked like to a forensic sketch artist who couldn’t see them and had to draw them based on their descriptions. Then, the same women were told to describe the other women. The outcome of the experiment was that the sketches of women describing themselves were a lot more unflattering than the sketches of women describing other women. This powerful video spread the message that “you’re more beautiful than you think.”

Overall, the entirety of the Real Beauty Campaign sparked conversation about women empowerment. It was eye-opening and left women feeling powerful and confident, which was what Dove was aiming for. One of the campaign’s goals was to change women’s warped perception of beauty, and they were successful by proving through the Dove Real Beauty Sketches that women don’t see their own beauty and are oftentimes too overly critical of their personal appearances.

Campaigns are successful when the message is relevant and the conversation keeps going. Dove nailed it on that note because body and personal image issues have become so apparent in today’s world, especially due to the popularity of photoshop and social media. The Real Beauty conversation is one that will not be ending anytime soon. It elicited a strong emotional response and high shareability rate from viewers, emphasizing the campaign’s major success. The campaign flourished because it connected with the audience in the sense that there is a huge self image problem amongst women. The outcome enabled women to think of beauty in a new and different way; a more positive way, all thanks to Dove.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page