Some marketing goes beyond building brand awareness, but builds something more: a bridge to change the culture in which we live. The Real Beauty Dove Campaign did exactly that. They took a brand that was just a generic soap that had been around for ages, and reinvented it for a new generation. But before they introduced the line of shampoos, they got into the heads of women. After conducting a global research study, they challenged the idea of beauty. They championed a new idea of beauty. And in doing so, changed the way we thought about beauty, the Dove brand and ourselves.
I remember when the video, Evolution, went viral. It was so powerful; I immediately shared it with my friends and my daughters. I remember how the print in its raw, in your face state, stood out amidst the beauty ads in magazines. And I marveled, as a marketing to women marketer, the social and cultural effect the campaign had. It made me proud of being in the business to see a company do something so noble as they did through their campaign, their social mission films and their commitment to redefine beauty and boost the self-esteem of young girls.
But lately, as Dove abandoned the “Real Beauty” campaign, for something less controversial and more “fresh,” with the “Go Fresh” campaign, it honestly bummed me out. They were just like any other brand in the category. And while they stayed true to their social mission with programs like “The Dove Mission for Self-Esteem,” it seemed like all the progress they made just evaporated. Gone is the emotional connection, the cultural phenomenon, the brand that went beyond, and all we are left is just the product shot on limbo with cucumbers. It’s disappointing that a brand that connected so deeply at one point with its audience is now so unconnected and simply just selling soap. It may be clean. It may be safe. But I prefer the Dove that got its hands dirty making a difference.
Want to see more, check out my first post in my series 20 examples of marketing to women that connects.