OVERVIEW: Dove launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004 - with Canada as part of the global team that came up with this new way to talk to women and girls. Then, in 2005, Canada introduced another shift, by increasing the focus on what had been until then a small part of the campaign: the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. This second shift was remarkable because the advertising did not involve product sell.
SITUATION ANALYSIS: At the start of the case, Dove was facing the P&G juggernaut in hair care, deodorant and personal wash, with Nivea, Aveeno and Jergens as growing challengers. In these situations, it's easy to talk about the need for a strong, differentiating platform - but the Campaign for Real Beauty created one, debunking stereotypes and redefining traditional ideas of beauty.
STRATEGY & INSIGHT: For 2005, Canada was looking for ways to add impact to the "real beauty" campaign, and inspiration came from research showing that an alarming number of girls suffer from low self-esteem. Ninety-two percent wanted to change at least one aspect of their appearance. Canada decided to increase support for the Self-Esteem Fund to just under 10 percent of the total annual marketing budget. Controversially, this effort would involve no hard sell, but the team believed that it would still pay dividends at the shelf.
EXECUTION: This started with a series of self-esteem workshops across the country, with a corresponding suite of tools on-line. Creatively, support came from:
"Little Girls :60" This commercial (to the music of 'True Colours') rings painfully true. It contrasts the real beauty of young girls with their self-esteem doubts like 'thinks she's fat', or 'hates her freckles'. The spot launched in Canada in January 2005, and went global in 2006. This included an airing on the Superbowl.
"Daughters :90" This profiles girls and young women speaking frankly about the insidious impact of beauty culture. It was released virally in 2006.
"Evolution :90" This now world-famous spot also went viral in 2006. We see an ordinary, attractive woman being turned into a billboard model by make-up, retouch-ing and photo shop. It closes with: 'no wonder our perception of beauty is so distorted.'
RESULTS: In Canada, the dollar franchise grew 18% in 2005, and another 12% in 2006. These are excellent results for packaged goods, and compare to +3% in 2004. Results in the rest of the world, with lower self-esteem investment, were also positive, though not as strong (Unilever was not in a position to release actual figures). As for "Evolution," it became an icon of viral marketing. It cost nothing to run, but the estimated media value in the US alone was $150,000,000. The BBC in the UK ran a five minute branded piece on it. And for 10 days, it topped the charts of linked-to-brand videos on Blogpulse and Technorati.
CAUSE & EFFECT: The case showed strong positive tracking measures related to the campaign message, and discussed the fact that there were no other marketing variables to cause the results. Though not directly causal, it's also worth noting that "Evolution" won two Grand Prix Lions at Cannes in 2007.
GEOFF CRAIG, V.P. Marketing
STEPHEN KOURI, V.P. Marketing
MARK WAKEFIELD, Marketing Director
ERIN ILES, Marketing Manager
SHARON MACLEOD, Marketing Manager
STEPHANIE HURST, Marketing Manager
ALISON LEUNG, Marketing Manager
ALEKSANDRA HOSZOWSKI, Asst. Brand Manager
JANET KESTIN, Co Creative Head
NANCY VONK, Co Creative Head
TIM PIPER, Art Director
MIKE KIRKLAND, Art Director
CHRIS DACYSHYN, Writer
BRENDA SURMINSKI, Producer
MARK FORWARD, Account Supervisor
SARAH KOSTECKI, Account Supervisor
HAYLEY SHIPPER, Account Executive
COBY SHUMAN, Associate Account Executive
AVIVA GROLL, Group Account Director, Client Service