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Advertising and Dove

Advertising and Dove

Individual Hand-In Case “Hips Feel Good” Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty TABLE OF CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1 INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2 INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS PLAN ……………………………………… 2 Objective ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Strategy ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3 Target…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3 Proposed Elements …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4 Advertising…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Website ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5 Public Relations…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6 Integration of Campaign Elements…………………………………………………………………………………………. 7 Success in Meeting Objectives ………………………………………………………………………………………………… RECOMMENDATIONS ………………………………………………………………….. ………………………. 8 ENDNOTES …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9 Appendix 1: Dove’s History Appendix 2: Campaign for Real Beauty’s Promotional Mix Appendix 3: Consumer Engagement and Image Integration Appendix 4: Competitor Websites EXECUTIVE SUMMARY With consumers bombarded each day by thousands of messages, the challenge for advertisers is not only to get their ads noticed, but to have consumers remember them as well. When people are overwhelmed with information and develop immunity to traditional forms of communication, they turn instead to traditional forms of communication”i which includes the primitive, but highly effective, communication between one or more people. In order to break through the clutter, Dove not only used an eye-catching and discussion provoking message but provided consumers with the means to connect with other people as deeply involved in the issue as they were. The meeting of these people and the subsequent sharing of ideas, experiences and support is what made the Campaign for Real Beauty a true success.

By taking an old idea, presenting it in a different way, and using traditional media in a unique way in order to engage consumers, Dove was able to break through the clutter and create a lasting message that resonated with its target market. Through global market research, Dove was able to identify an emotional issue amongst its target market that, surprisingly, was very consistent both globally and culturally. By capitalizing on this information and doing something radically different from competitors, Dove was able to engage consumers in the brand and successfully differentiate itself.

The campaign succeeded in delivering double digit growth for Dove and increasing its market share worldwide. In order to sustain this success, Dove must continue to foster the strong emotional bonds that consumers have developed with the brand. To do this, Dove needs to continue listening to consumers to determine what issues they feel most strongly about. Dove then needs to find a way to present these issues to the general public in a way that is interesting, thought provoking and sparks discussion. It is, after all, the relationships formed around one issue that struck an emotional chord that catapulted a fledging brand into the spotlight.

Page 1 INTRODUCTION It is no secret that Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” was an overwhelming success, exceeding the expectations of even parent company, Unilever. The campaign was not only seen as successful marketing, but as a much needed shift in media portrayal of women that “promote[s] healthy body images and build[s] self-esteem among women”ii. The assertion that a company who sells beauty products could be herald as a leader in promoting positive images for woman would certainly have feminists such as Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth, up in arms in disagreement.

Somehow, Dove was able to overcome the paradox of a beauty care company promoting “real beauty” and turn it into an international phenomenon. The reason the campaign was so successful was not the message it sent out, or how creative the ads were. In the end, Dove does not sell confidence, self-esteem or womanhood; it sells soap. What made this campaign so successful was the way in which it was executed. Instead of presenting a firm statement, Dove presented an idea, on which they invited users to express their opinions and provided them with the forums in which to do so.

This created what Malcolm Gladwell refers to in his book, The Tipping Point, as the “Stickiness Factor”. Dove presented an idea that many people felt strongly about and provided forums where these people could meet and discuss the issue further with each other. It was the formation of these groups that made the campaign so successful; it wasn’t the ads or the message, it was the experiences shared by these relative strangers, brought together through the Campaign for Real Beauty, which created the “stickiness” for the campaign and made it “tip”iii. INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS PLAN

Selling products by challenging ‘traditional’ beauty ideals is nothing new to marketing; it was attempted by both Special K cereal and The Body Shop. In fact, it has been Dove’s marketing strategy since 1969 when Dove first used testimonials of “real women” to promote the soapiv (see Appendix 1). The Page 2 reason that Campaign for Real Beauty was able to succeed where these other attempts failed was not that it was presenting a new idea; it was how an old idea was presented. Objective Dove, Unilever’s flagship brand, was losing market share to competitors and thus the objective of the campaign was to increase market share.

The relevance of a brand to a customer involves two processes: engagement and experience. Dove was successful in delivering the experience; most users appreciated both its moisturizing capabilities and adherence to natural ingredients. The problem was in the engagement; Dove was seen as old-fashioned and didn’t connect to customers on an emotional level. The underlying objective was now to find a way to engage customers with the brand while at the same time differentiating Dove from the seemingly endless flood of competing products.

Strategy Instead of trying to copy competitor advertisement and become a “me too”, Dove conducted a series of global market research surveys in an attempt to discover what ‘beauty’ meant to women, not ‘beauty care products’. The results were not only astounding in what they discovered (for instance, only 2% of women describe themselves as “beautiful”) but also in the similarities globally and across cultures. From the research, Dove concluded that women around the globe were tired of having beauty defined by the same standards (tall, thin, young) and were ready for something new and fresh.

The idea Dove proposed was not to try and re-define beauty, but to present a different kind of beauty to show that “being beautiful” didn’t mean you had to fit into a pop-culture mold. This idea was not only radically different from what competitors were doing, but also created an emotional appeal that would engage customers with the brand. Target The initial target group was women aged 30-39, the assumption being that these women had not yet used skin-firming products but were starting to reach the age where wrinkles and cellulite Page 3 ere becoming a concern. This group also likely has young daughters, for whom self-esteem issues are a real concern for their mothers. Dove incorporated this into its campaign with Mom-to-Mom discussion boards and the famous “Onslaught” video. Dove also incorporated self-esteem building tools for young girls. The most important element of Dove’s target market was that this was a global segment. Women who fit this demographic would be targeted in the same way in each continent, with only the models varying to reflect local cultural differences.

Proposed Elements From the out set, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty contains all the elements one would expect to see in a multi-million dollar global marketing campaign: “print and TV ads, billboards, free-standing inserts, web site, sampling, direct-mail, in-store promotion and public relations”v(see Appendix 2). The reason the campaign was so successful was not the media chosen to deliver the message, but how Dove adopted the media in a way that engaged viewers. The three elements that I feel were the most instrumental in driving the success of the campaign were advertising, internet marketing and public relations.

These three elements will be discussed in depth. Advertising As pointed put before, the concept of debunking the stereotypical “beauty” in advertisements is nothing new, what was new was how Dove presented the argument. Dove posed a question to consumers asking them what their definition of beauty was, thus engaging the consumer, not preaching to them. Dove first questioned consumers on their perceptions of women’s bodies by placing a large billboard in Times Square with an average-sized woman asking “Fit or Fab?. Here’s where it gets interesting: Dove enabled viewers to vote on whether they thought the model was fit or fab via their cell phones, tabulating results immediately. A similar Page 4 campaign was conducted in Toronto with results of 51% saying she was fat, but online results of 74% saying fabvi. This difference shows that the advertisements drove those who felt most strongly about the issue to the website, and it is on the website that these groups of people were able to congregate, share their feelings, and build relationships with one another.

The ads were so different and unique that they became news themselves; Dove had brought a sensitive issue to the forefront of the public’s mind. But unlike its predecessors, instead of questioning the validity of old ideals of beauty, Dove left it up to the public to decide how they thought beauty should be defined. It’s easy to see why the campaign caused such a stir when compared to a typical advertisement from competitor, L’Oreal (see insert). Website Without question, the website for the campaign provided the most value of all elements.

It was through this platform that Dove facilitated the meeting and subsequent discussion among those who felt most strongly about the issue of real beauty. The website is not your typical beauty products site – in fact, the products aren’t mentioned at all – the site is really an information site for all issues relating to self-esteem. The site includes thought-provoking videos, self-esteem building training courses, workshops for girls, quizzes and resources for young girls struggling with image issues, e-cards, and of course, forums for discussion (see Appendix 3).

Dove has also branched out and created several viral videos, the most popular being “Evolution” which has been viewed over 15 million timesvii. Dove has even created extension websites, doveproage. com and doveloveyourhair. com, that encourage embracing your age and natural hair, respectively. The image of real beauty is maintained throughout all these sites with emphasis on the issues, not the products. This is in sharp contrast to Dove’s competitors whose websites feature picture perfect models and no means for consumer interaction or discussion (see Appendix 4). The most profound difference is Page 5 hat competitor sites don’t encourage their customers to think, they make the decision for them, and that decision is that beauty fits a certain mold, if you don’t fit that mold; you better buy their products to ensure that you do. Not everyone agrees with the campaign for real beauty, but that’s not the point, the point is to spark discussion which is exactly what Dove did. One key element to the campaign for real beauty site is a “Girls Only Interactive SelfEsteem Zone” specifically designed to provide tools and guidance to young girls struggling to deal with self-esteem issues.

Dove even partnered with Nickelodeon and hosted a “Sleepover Party” where several movies were played, but instead of commercials, Dove ran video spots talking about self-esteem issues and suggesting exercises girls could do together to overcome them. Talk about a double-whammy: not only did this resonate will with Dove’s target market who likely had daughters or were concerned with the media’s influence on young girls, but Dove was building a new brand identity and emotional ties with a soon-to-be generation of consumers. Brilliant.

Public Relations The amount of news coverage that the campaign for real beauty received was astounding; one needs only to google it to see that the list of news articles is endless. The original attention was drawn due to the sheer uniqueness of the ads; but the attention was maintained by the controversial discussions it provoked amongst the public. The reason for the intense public interest was all due to the fact that Dove actually listened to its customers. Dove identified an issue that struck an emotional cord with its target market and drew international attention to it.

But Dove didn’t stop there; Dove has dedicated itself to the cause of breaking down self-esteem barriers by creating the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, which provides resources for organizations that promote positive beauty and self-esteem images. This is a global campaign; in every country that Dove sells product, it also supports an organization that empowers women and girls to feel better about themselves. Page 6 Integration of Campaign Elements With the myriad of advertisements that bombard consumers everyday, the challenge is not in creating an effective ad, the challenge is getting people to notice your ad.

By attempting something radically different from anything else put forth by competitors, Dove had an effective ad. Dove got people to notice it by sparking discussion and engaging consumers in the debate. These initial print ads drove both web traffic and media interest. The media interest helped fuel the public relations campaign which drove more traffic to the website. Samples were then handed out so that consumers could appreciate the functional benefits of Dove soap, rather than just associating it with a good cause.

The advertising and public relation drove consumers to the website, the sampling ensured that consumers knew the product was quality, and the website engaged consumers and created a bond with the brand. Subsequent public relations activities such as the Dove Self-Esteem Fund reinforced Dove’s commitment to the cause demonstrating that it was more than an advertising slogan. To ensure a consistent message across all global markets, Dove created an intranet site, Dove Planet, that “addresses brand questions and share experiences. ”viii Success in Meeting Objectives Since he inception of the campaign in 2004, Dove has seen double digit growth in a category that typically grows at 2-3% per yearix. The campaign for real beauty has won countless awards and the campaign website has received more than 2. 5 million visitorsx. The brand has significantly increased its emotional appeal amongst its target market with associations such as “confident”, “fun” and “energetic”. The high-risk bet that Unilever made paid off; Dove was able to increase market share, create an exceptional marketing campaign, and all while preserving the practical strengths of the brand.

Page 7 RECOMMENDATIONS Although later proved false, Dove ran into some trouble when allegations surfaced that the models used in its advertisements were actually re-touched. Had the photographer who made the allegations not recanted, such a revelation could have proved disastrous for Dove, alienating and angering the people who had invested their emotions in the campaign, the people who made it successful. Following from that, in order to keep Dove current, it needs to continue to foster discussion and interaction among the people who resonate most deeply with the message.

So what’s next for ‘real beauty’? Whatever the consumer says is next. Dove needs to invest resources in research into discussions held in its website forums to identify issues that hold emotional value to its target consumers and tweak them in a way that is presentable to the mainstream public. This is exactly what Dove did to inspire the success of its first campaign; it took an issue in which its customers were emotionally involved and presented it in a unique and interactive fashion that engaged all members of the population; not strictly the target market.

One caution I would offer Dove is to not lose sight of the brand. Dove is, after all, in the business of selling beauty products. If more attention is brought to society’s ills than the products themselves, Dove may make the same mistake as Benetton and become focused on the issue, rather than the products. Maintenance of the “stickiness factor” is imperative, keeping consumers engaged and emotionally invested in the brand and what it stands for is what will continue to make Dove a success in the uture. Let’s be honest, using Dove isn’t going to erase all of society’s ills. It is, however, going to give you the opportunity to connect with and make a difference in the lives of people who feel the same way you do. And that’s what this campaign has been about all along; people building relationships with one another that have nothing to do with soap. Page 8 ENDNOTES i ii Gladwell, Malcolm. (2000). The Tipping Point. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company. Page 275 Martin, K. & Johnson, J. 2008). A Framework for Ethical Conformity in Marketing. Journal of Business Ethics, page 106 iii “Tip”: from Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, refers to the point at which something goes from relative obscurity to epidemic proportions. iv Case Study – Dove: Beneath the Skin. (2008, May). Brand Strategy, London, page 20 v Lichti, Shirley. (2006, June). Dove campaign reflects a beautiful strategy. The Record. vi Lichti, Shirley. (2006, June). Dove campaign reflects a beautiful strategy. The Record. ii Dove “Real Beauty” Campaign Women May Have Been Retouched. (2008, May). Cleveland Leader. viii De Swaan Arons, Mark. (2008, May). What is Takes to Really Win Globally. Advertising Age, (Midwest Region Edition), Vol. 79, Iss. 20; page 22 ix Shaw, Hollie. (2008, May). Dove’s real women fly on stage; Unilever’s next step in empowering marketing. National Post. x Gibbons, Sheila. (2008, May). Advertisers out of touch; Marketing to woman seems unable to match their realities. The Ottawa Citizen. Page 9