Dove – Real Beauty, Real Smart

Singing in the Rain Video Release

Successful marketers know how to strike a nerve. Make you laugh, weep, think of someone you love. But what happens when you innovate the industry you’re competing in and show the other marketers there’s another way of doing it?

Instead of fitting their marketing campaign into the cookie cutter routines, Dove reminds women that they’re beautiful because they’re unique. Forget the airbrushing and botox – they don’t digitally enhance their models. Until I was part of the making of one of their commercials, I was skeptical. Is real beauty beautiful enough for Dove to put their name behind?

You tell me…

Dove Video – Singing in the Rain

Dove Girl JuliaTwo weeks ago, I traveled to Toronto with my daughter and 14 other amazing women to film the Singing in the Rain promo video I was nervous, scared and more than a little skeptical. But I was eager to discover where this new venture led.

Since writing my original post on the making of the video, I’ve thought a lot about why Dove’s marketing message resonates so deeply with me. And I want to be clear, it’s the marketing message we’re discussing, not the products.

North American women suffer almost unilaterally from poor body image. Simply put, we don’t think we’re beautiful. For me, Dove’s campaign represents a middle ground of letting us see real women in the media – with help from the hair and make-up department. Pictures aren’t digitally touched up, so aside from the wonders of cosmetics, what you see is what you get.

While I love the Dove video, there are quite a few Dove images that ignite my love of this brand. What do you think? Did Dove go too far? Not far enough?

Dove Real Beauty

Is this Woman Beautiful?

Dove Real Beauty

What do you see first when you look at this image? Why?

To comply with the long list of regulating bodies including the FTC and possibly even the Geneva Conventions and in the interest of transparency, compensation for this is sponsored post was provided by Dove Canada. Commentary and perspectives are those of Julia Rosien, Chief Idea Officer for SocialNorth.

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14 Responses to “Dove – Real Beauty, Real Smart”

  1. Kelly Wagner says:

    Dove’s portrayal of what is “beautiful” is refreshing. What’s beautiful, in every case, is beauty from the inside out. When your heart and your eyes are smiling, that’s true beauty that everyone needs and wants to see! I too love Dove’s work in supporting girls’ and womens’ feeling of well-being by showing us lots of different examples of what’s truly beautiful. Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking post, Julia! (and I love the video; what fun!)

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Thanks Kelly, being part of this project has been a journey for me and I’m liking what I’m discovering along the way. What is truly beautiful – and should we even try to define it….


  2. Shannon Markle says:

    I have loved the DOVE approach for years. It’s fabulous to see them build on an idea, spread an ideal and nurture community of vibrant, real girls and women!


    • Julia Rosien says:

      Right on Shannon! I loved it when Dove came out with the Real Beauty Campaign, but like any brand they have to continue to innovate to stay ahead of the curve. I think this video is a good start and I’ll be eager to see what they follow up with later this year….

      Love that you stopped by – miss you a lot, girlfriend!

  3. Julia, you are the quintessential Dove woman, such a perfect spokeswoman! So beautiful inside and out, vibrant and fun. When I look at the images of the women above, I feel their contentment with themselves, their eyes smile. That is real beauty!
    Dove’s support for DSEF is wonderful, hopefully Dove’s beauty campaign will help all women of every age see what is truly beautiful.

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Rossana, you are too sweet – and right on the money when it comes to the beautiful women in this video. Their smiles tell the whole story and for that alone, I’m honored to have been a part of this. Thanks for taking time to post a comment!

  4. FunkySteph says:

    I agree that their campaigns are great. They really work on trying to make women feel better about themselves. One might argue that when woman buy beauty product they buy also dream… My point of view, is yes I certainly buy part of a dream, but it must be one that can be reached sooner rather than later….

  5. Love the Singing In The Rain video! Awesomeness!!

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Thanks Robert! Watching the professional dancers was a bit of a thrill too! One of them took a wicked fall during the filming and just got up and kept dancing. I was in awe…

      Thanks for stopping by and watching!

  6. I love a advertising campaign that celebrates REAL women … With the popularity of “Reality” television shows like “Real” Housewives, the line has become very blurred as to what is REAL. Bravo to Dove for “keeping it real” … Dove women are the role models I want for MY children!!

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Sandra, couldn’t agree with you more – truth in advertising is what it’s all about! Thanks for stopping by and commenting – and for watching! Dove announced yesterday that they’ll give $100,000 after a million views on the video – now that’s awesome!

  7. Thanks for inviting me to comment via twitter Julia.

    You’d be hard pressed to find anyone (myself included) that doesn’t fully support the Dove marketing message of celebrating the beauty within and not being taken by advertising schemes (as also stunningly portrayed in their Evolution video in 2006 and Onslaught video The message is emotional, engaging and empowering; especially when you’re targeting younger audiences. I can fully celebrate the Dove team and what they’re producing; it’s got to be a pretty amazing environment to work within.

    Here’s where I have an issue.

    Unilever, the parent company of Dove actively markets skin bleaching agents to men and women in India, even going so far as to create an app for that; ubiquity indeed. So, in North America, you’re beautiful just the way you are, but in India, you’re MORE beautiful if you try to look like North Americans?I can’t reconcile that message with Dove’s Real Beauty message.

    Hypocrisy in advertising is nothing new ( and I recognize that these are two different parts of the same company and working for a large corporation myself, I know often that never the twain shall meet. One working group will not necessarily influence another. We cannot, however, turn a blind eye to the fact that it’s the same company that profits from these conflicting messages.

    Part of my “job” as a woman that has worked in advertising, is aware of these issues and is also the parent of an 18 year old young woman is to ensure that people are aware of these issues as well and remember where we spend our dollars because that is seemingly the only real way that change happens and corporations listen to “us”.

    I applaud you Julia for not being afraid to host this dialogue. I also applaud your participation in the video and can see how much fun it must’ve been to be a part of this campaign…without hesitation, congratulations!

    And again, much regard and respect for the dialogue…

    • Julia Rosien says:


      Thank you for taking time to chat with me about this on Twitter – and to bring it here where’s there’s more room to continue the discussion. I agree this isn’t a black and white issue.

      No company is perfect and even Dove sells self-tanning cream here in North America. If you’re a girl in Asia, the cultural message is that you must be whiter to be beautiful. Our daughters get the opposite message here – tanned skin is more beautiful.

      Why do we need to change to be beautiful?

      The answer is we don’t. We can have discussions like this that force us all (men AND women AND brands) to take a closer look at the messages we’re sending our daughters – and our sons. I believe in the message Dove (not Unilever and not Ax) sends to girls – you bring more to the table than your looks. And I’m intelligent enough to know that even this is just a marketing message. It’s a good one, but it’s been crafted to sell more products.

      Kudos to Dove for starting the discussion where so many companies don’t. Kudos to Dove for putting their money behind their message and investing in the Dove Self Esteem Fund. And Kudos to women like you who challenge them to go beyond the conversation and continue to improve and do better – for all girls in this world.

      The company may not be perfect but it’s a step in a direction I can support.

      Thanks again, Karen!

  8. Julia,
    I fell in love with the Dove philosophy years ago. They were smart enough to recognize the traditional beauty images weren’t helping anyone. It’s also nice to see a company embracing women of colour in a way that’s rare.The products will come and go. I’m proud to be a part of that video because I believe wholeheartedly in the philosophy. Thanks for saying it so well.

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