Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Edelman is running the global PR programme for Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. The campaign started in March 2004 but has run at different times, speeds in different markets.

The campaign integrates both PR and advertising (Ogilvy & Mather). The success of the campaign has been how it has entered popular culture and gone beyond mainstream media coverage.

The campaign was about engendering debate and inspiring action. It persuaded opinion formers to get talk about a soap brand, which is quite an achievement.

It started with a global white paper research report (The Real Truth About Beauty). A key finding was that only 2% of women worldwide describe themselves as beautiful.

The real beauty campaign had a mission to help more women and girls to feel more beautiful and was willing to take a risk of alienating people by championing this mission. This was a bold move which was carried through with bold and controversial imagery which used images of beautiful women and girls which defied conventional stereotypes. The aim was not just to have a shock value.

Dove found a place in society and was willing to act as an advocate for female self-esteem which included an ad during the Super Bowl.

The success of the Dove evolution video on YouTube has been well chronicled by other social media commentators.

Dove took the Real Beauty campaign to where women already were – wherever that happened to be.

Once the debate had been kicked off it was important that Dove continued to be part of the debate and act as a thought leader. This meant commentating on controversial issues such as Heidi Klum refusing to accept models who were ‘too fat’ and the Madrid Fashion Week banning size zero models.

The result was not just more sales and a greater market share but more importantly that women connected with the Dove brand.

I’ve only captured a flavour of this fantastic campaign which is a credit to both Edelman and Dove.

UPDATE: Presentation by Cornelia Kunze, CEO, Edelman Germany


Stuart Bruce

International Public Relations Adviser | Trainer | Author | Media Commentator | Conference Speaker | University Lecturer | Online PR | Digital Corporate Communications | Crisis Communications | Digital Public Affairs