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Challenging the beauty myth

October 22, 2004

Women are bombarded by images of beauty as defined by the media, cosmetics and fashion industries. Unilever’s research for their Dove brand appears to have understood that women have had enough. Most brands in the beauty and fashion business are content to continue to perpetuate the ideal of beauty. In a brave move, Dove has gone against the grain and established itself as an alternative voice. Most brands are content to push out products and create a lifestyle to surround them, very few, are willing to take on social conventions.

In a program that involves; PR, internet, advertising and events, Dove presents itself as a champion of real beauty and provides women with a voice to discuss the issue.

This is an intelligent move, as it elevates Dove from being just another product in a crowded category and gives a service dimension to the brand. Dove becomes an advisor, friend and sounding board for the issue. This is a lot more interesting than talking about product features or showcasing the latest celebrity model. It’s also hyper-competitive; it subtly challenges all its competitors and implicitly leads the consumer to do the same.

Other brands certainly have this opportunity to challenge social convention and provide an alternative voice, but they need both smart research to uncover these truths and a considerable amount of bravery to push this idea through the organization.

There has been a lot of talk about the future role of brands in peoples lives, this is a great example of how a brand can play a positive and empowering role, in a way that transcends most traditional marketing and allows the brand to stand out from the crowd.

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