Only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

“Women are their own worst beauty critics. In fact, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. Dove is committed to building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential. That’s why we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that proves to women something very important: You are more beautiful than you think.”

For this latest experiment in the Real Beauty campaign, Dove and Ogilvy hired Gil Zamora, an FBI-trained forensic artist, to sketch women two ways: the first in their own words, the second in the words of a stranger.

The resulting three-minute video was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday (embedded below).

It’s a powerful message.

There’s a longer six-minute version, as well as shorter interviews with each participant, on the Dove Real Beauty Sketches website.

Via lots of people, and Adweek.

Related, from the archives: The twisted reality of fashion advertising.

Update: 18 April 2013
Another from the archives that I forgot about: The hypocrisy of Unilever advertising.

12 responses

  1. The message is indeed powerful (or horrible should I say), but I find it a bit hypocritical on Dove’s side. Dove is a Unilever company, which also runs Axe (man’s body products), which always portrays woman in a very “super-sexy” way, contributing to women low self esteem. If Dove/Unilever honestly believed “every woman is beautiful”, they could start by fixing their other ads first.

  2. This was a really cool project. I’d like to see it done for men as well.
    I was thinking along the same lines as the comment from Ran above, but at least the axe ads aren’t marketed for the women to look like that. It’s marketed toward men that wish they had those women. Interestingly enough, a lot of the Axe ads show an “everyman” getting the hot women. But still, it is interesting(hypocritical?) seeing vastly different viewpoints from the same parent company.
    Either way, thanks for sharing David.

  3. Amazing! Thanks for sharing this story. Emotional and v true. Really makes you think. I love Dove’s love your body campaigns, they always seem so genuine.

  4. Isnt it ironic that the very same cosmetics industry that perpetuates the fear in women to esteem themselves as what they see via media in all forms of medium are now the same folks trying to encourage them?

  5. Dove is very well known in the UK to co-opt various aspects of feminist thinking to sell cosmetics.
    (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2903718/Ad-hoc-Doves-commitment-to-real-beauty-is-only-skin-deep.html)

    What is deeply worrying is the claim that 4% of women AROUND THE WORLD. This is somewhat untrue as seen from the advert. (I did not see any Papua New Guineans or Masai discussing perceptions of their beauty.)

    They may be, or their forbearers once were, from other part of the world but they are now very much in the US and have seem to have absorbed the appropriate self-esteem psychoses that are promoted by the beauty industry.

    What is true is that as ideals of western beauty and standards are promoted and encouraged around the world that statistic may become correct. In no small help to Unilever that promotes such things skin lightening creams in developing countries: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jul/16/unilever-hypocritical-promoting-skin-lightening

    To promote such an awful, mawkish, dishonest and unethical advertising campaign and to claim it as a step in the right direction is lazy. As lazy as thinking a few women in the US represent the women of the world. As lazy as not bothering to see what the advertisers promote elsewhere.

    Here is my response to the Dove ad, an ad made for the Indian market promoting skin lightening made for the Unilever product ‘Fair and Lovely’.

    They actually use a colour shade chart against someone ones face to judge their whiteness and thus their beauty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P-6sNIZk2o

    Now that is something to make you cry.

  6. I really liked this, I thought it was very clever.

    Very typical of Dove, they really do lead the way when it comes to really connecting with their customers on an emotional level, they have always operated like this with their marketing and branding campaigns.

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