Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign
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Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign
This is a collection of reactions to cosmetic/toiletry company Dove's "Real Beauty" Campaign. The campaign efforts involve a series of web videos and social experiments to promote healthy self perception, moving against the usual messages of fashion and beauty media.
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Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Join the conversation at: #WeAreBeautiful Watch the whole experience at: http://dove.com/realbeautysketches Women are their own worst beauty critics. Only 4%...
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

This is the most popular, most viral of the videos in Dove's Real Beauty Campaign.  It was posted April 14, 2013 on Youtube and Dove.com.  As of September 7, 2013, the video has hit over 55 million views.

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How Those Dove 'Real Beauty Sketch' Ads Went Viral

How Those Dove 'Real Beauty Sketch' Ads Went Viral | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
While Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" ads on YouTube have been viewed almost 28 million times, there are some critics

Via Cristin Grogan
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

Bloomberg Business Week added commentary to the issue, explaining the response to the video as mostly positive, mentioning the history of criticism of Dove ads, and the predicted effect on the company (experts believe Dove is ahead of game, knowing their customers, whether their motives are pure or not).

 

While this is a traditional media contribution, the comments section engages the voices of many making amateur media.  Daechoong Mama left her mark on the issue, commenting on the online article and also linking to the entry she posted on her personal blog about the video. Link below:

 

http://www.daechoongmama.com/2013/04/dove-beauty-campaign-ad-questions.html

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Cristin Grogan's curator insight, April 26, 2013 10:48 AM

Dove's on-going 'Campaign for Real Beauty' has seen tremendous successes specifically in the digital and social media realm.  The latest component of the campaign centers around an intriguing video that has been very successful in virality.  Dove is a company that continues to use digital media (videos, photography, etc.) to present creative ways to tell it's brands story and communicate the 'Campaign for Real Beauty' and then uses social media to spread that unique content.  Whether the ads are right or wrong, by combining the above three elements, as well as truly understanding their target consumer, Dove succeeds in using digital and social platforms to enlist buyers, gain new stakeholders, build intrigue around it's brand and to increase customer loytaly, which all contribute to a higher revenue.

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Searching for viral impact? Try throwing away the script

Searching for viral impact? Try throwing away the script | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
To gain attention in a social media age, brands must react in days, not months. Unilever’s new campaign was prepared in one week

Via Cristin Grogan
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

When creative lead Ramos was interviewed about the ad, he mentioned that clients agreed to a social experiment and not a script.  In this article, the author analyzes the success of the ad.  She contributes the 50+ million views to a lack of script and a keen awareness of kairos.  

 

Ads by professionals use to take 9 months to produce, but now the products don't have to be scripted, directed, produced to the same professional perfection.  While the quality of this ad is exceptional and thoughtful, the scriptlessness is a precedent for brandmakers to engage more quickly and authentically with the audience.  

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Cristin Grogan's curator insight, May 20, 2013 9:09 AM

Coming off the success of their latest digital ad campaign, Dove explains how marketing in the social media age depends more heavily than ever on speed, authenticity, spontenaiety and creativity.

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Stop posting that Dove ad: “Real beauty” campaign is not feminist

Stop posting that Dove ad: “Real beauty” campaign is not feminist | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
Dove's just selling deodorant and soap in a new way, while peddling the same old beauty standards as empowerment
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

While the video went viral, the reactions were mixed.  Critics of the ad started to post the problems with the message and question the motives of the makers and our own reactions to hearing we're "more beautiful than [we] think"

 

Regular Salon.com contributor Erin Keane wrote this response, asking readers to consider the ethos of the creators (a company selling beauty products) and overtly sentimental appeals ("almost a parody of itself at this point — the emo string quartet, the wise, vaguely sinister “expert,” the soft lighting that’s straight out of a Real Simple photo shoot. You half expect Fred Armisen to show up in a wig eating yogurt.").

 

This post on Salon.com was recommended on Facebook 12,000 times, tweeted almost 500 times, and triggered the conversation with 4 pages of comments from self-proclaimed feminist critical thinkers.  The discussion praised Keane's voice and refuted her opinion.  The commenters argue and side not only with the original author, but also with each other.

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Create A Police Sketch Of Your Favorite Face With This Excellent Time Waster

Create A Police Sketch Of Your Favorite Face With This Excellent Time Waster | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
Dove caused quite a stir back in April when its"Real Beauty" campaign used a forensic sketch artist to show women their perceived and true selves.

Via Russ Bergeron
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

The Real Beuty Sketches video also inspired app makers to create a tool for consumers of the beauty sketches to create their own sketches.  The app allows users to choose from a set of hairstyles, eyebrows, nose shapes, facial hair, lip arches to "sketch" a face.  

 

The video creators claimed that this was an experiment, and any good experiment can be recreated to produce similar results.  The app may not have that intention, but it certainly carries the ability to recreate the essence of the experiment in an amateur, affordable way.

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Beauty Above All Else: The Problem With Dove’s New Viral Ad

Beauty Above All Else: The Problem With Dove’s New Viral Ad | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
In a smart new campaign, there’s still no mention that women would rather be called smart than beautiful.
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

This is another example of a critque of the Beauty Sketches video.  In NYMag, the author's opinion is that the conversation of self esteem should not hinge on beauty at all, or at least not above all.  Feeling good about yourself is not synonymous with feeling good about the way you look, because you ≠ your looks.


She also points out the value society has placed on modesty or maybe the taboo society places on female confidence.  She rebutts that maybe many women do generally feel okay about how they look, but less okay with expressing that contentedness.  It is normal and rather socially acceptable to respond to a complement with "This old thing?" instead of "I know I look exceptional in this silhouette or color."

 

One particular commenter, PEELSLOWLYANSEE, though, challenged that notion that we should criticize a skincare company for going only skin deep.  Dove's job is to provide beauty products to consumers.  Is it wrong for them to make a video that subtly defines beauty?

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Science vs. Dove: Thanks, but we are NOT our own worst beauty critics

Science vs. Dove: Thanks, but we are NOT our own worst beauty critics | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
This blog re-published with permission from Kjerstin Gruys, originally from her blog Mirror, Mirror… Off the Wall. So there's this new Dove "Real Beauty Sketches" ad campaign, and I'm finally ready...
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

Ph.D. candidate in sociology, Kjerstin Gruyes, acknowledges the blogger reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Sketches video.  Instead of rhetorically analyzing the use of appeals and fallacies like other bloggers, Gruyes takes a research approach and comments on the "experiment."

 

In any controversy, we get to hear how experts react, but social tools like blogs, tweets, youtube make it possible for near or non-experts and various fields to interact.  Gruyes takes on the statistics, gender issues, soundness of the experiment, and effect of the camera in the video.

 

This new perspective spread the conversation out, and comments expressed that they had been "suckered in" by the video without thinking critically.  Others said all the criticism of the execution distracts from the fact that this video is lightyears ahead of most ads that use female beauty in more sinister pursuits.

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Take Two: Another Look At That Viral Dove Ad Campaign

Take Two: Another Look At That Viral Dove Ad Campaign | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
If nothing else, the recent beyond-viral Dove ad campaign aimed to prove that women are their own worst critics started a lot of talk. And parodies. And now, xoVain is getting in on it.
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

This parody playfully focuses  not on low self esteem, but high self esteem.  While watching this and comparing it to the Dove video, I thought about how differently we feel about those with low self esteem (pity) than those with high self esteem (disdain) when it comes to beauty.

 

Users are bringing the issue of modesty in the discussion.

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Dove's 'real beauty sketches' ad deserves some praise

Heather Long: Dove's latest campaign to get women to be more confident about their looks makes a powerful point, even if it's only skin deep
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

The more voices that enter the discussion through social media, the grayer the issues become.  This allows for the community conversation to change from self esteem is good and marketing is bad to something closer to "marketing attempts to promote self esteem is complex."

 

This article expresses that sentiment by heeding critics of the ad that "

Writing those views off as weak or unfeminist, as some have done, is counterproductive. . . . Instead of picking the ad apart, applaud it for what it is – and ask for an even better encore."

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Positive Self-Esteem Makes All Girls Unstoppable

Positive Self-Esteem Makes All Girls Unstoppable | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
Help Dove® reach 15 million girls by 2015. Download our tools now for activities you and the girl in your life can do together.
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

It is Dove's social mission to promote positive self-esteem in girls.  To do this, they invite girls for an annual Dove Self-Esteem Weekend, encourage site visitors to share stories in the "Unstoppable Girls" gallery, join the beauty and self perception conversation of twitter (using the tag #GirlsUnstoppable), and to, of course, buy Dove products in order to contribute to the mission and help charities, similarly focused.

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#morebeautifulthanyouthink

Twitter responses to the video

Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

Tweets hashtagged #morebeautifulthanyouthink praised the creativity of the video and the purity of the message.  One tweeter (@ginaboedeker) encouraged, "C'mon ladies..be a bit easier on ourselves. #morebeautifulthanyouthink #confidence."  Tweets like this and reposting on Facebook seem to be the most common response to viewing the video.

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The Story Behind Dove's Mega Viral "Real Beauty Sketches" Campaign

The Story Behind Dove's Mega Viral "Real Beauty Sketches" Campaign | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
Anselmo Ramos creative lead on Doves Real Beauty Sketches hit discusses the making of a viral sensation.
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

It took no time for the social part of social media to become evident in the campaign.  Everyone started talking about the mega viral video.  In this interview, the creative lead responsible for the project speaks back to the coos and cries of the public.  

 

Most memorable is that this ad was designed for participants not actresses, beautiful women, but not models.  Ramos says, "There’s a lot of merit to the clients, because they didn’t approve a script; they approved a social experiment."  I think this is significant because in a way, this did not start when the professionals posted the video online.  It started before when participants (amateurs) added their voices to a professional product.


The comments section on this interview continue to talk critically about how powerful the video was and whether that power is ethically applied to a conversation about internal perceptions of external beauty.  Commenter Josh Condon turns the discussion towards  race and the measure of non-Caucasion attributes highlighted as beautiful qualities.

 

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Dove: The Most Impressive Brand Builder in the Last 15 Years? | Aaker on Brands | Prophet

Dove: The Most Impressive Brand Builder in the Last 15 Years? | Aaker on Brands | Prophet | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it

What are the most impressive brand building efforts in last 15 years? In constructing such a list, it would be hard to leave out Dove. A $200 million soap brand in the early 1990s has grown into a brand that has been estimated to be nearly $4 billion dollars today. They play in an intensively competitive arena with large, smart and established competitors. And in my view, the Dove brand building effort played a big role in their success story.

 

Have you seen the latest from the Dove ongoing “Campaign for Real Beauty” that originated in Brazil and was done by Ogilvy & Mather in 2004?A forensic sketch artist draws several women, first based only on their descriptions of themselves (he does not actually see them) and then based on the descriptions of a stranger who has observed the women. The subject, seeing the resulting sketches side-by-side, realizes that the sketches inspired by strangers are much more flattering than the versions from their own self-descriptions. The tagline? “You are more beautiful than you think.” The first two versions of these videos each got over 35 million views within two weeks of being posted to YouTube. Thirty-five million!!

 


Via Russ Merz, Ph.D.
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

Brandmaker David Aaker interprets why videos from the Real Beauty Campaign, while controversial, are intelligent choices for the Dove brand.  While everyone is aware that Dove's motivations are largely entrepreneurial,one cannot deny the presence they have.  This presence does not have to be unanamously positive to be effective.  Aaker states, "The campaign has had its critics, though. In part, this scrutiny has been stimulated by and is a testament to its success and visibility. Phil Knight during a panel discussion at the WEF at Davos once dismissed critics to some controversy Nike ads by saying that the goal was not to avoid being disliked but to connect to the target. Exactly."


The video exhibits a knowledge of the rhetorical triangle, in that, creators know what audience is and how to tailor a message toward them.  The medium they've chosen also allows for the voices of that audience to keep sharing and tagging the product, keeping Dove on the lips and at the fingertips of the online world, whether the audience agrees or not.  

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About Dove Real Beauty Sketches

About Dove Real Beauty Sketches | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
MeMi M is using Pinterest, an online pinboard to collect and share what inspires you.
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

With all the controversy, consumers turned to creators in order to point out the fallacious parts of the argument:  relying on heavy-handed sentimentality, assuming that women do not see themselves accurately, implying the same is not true of men, or promoting a narrow definition of beauty.  

 

One pinterest user curated a board of several parody videos that poke fun at these fallacies.

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Dove Real Beauty Sketches: #Balls

Your balls are more beautiful than you think. Men are their own worst beauty critics. Only 4% of men around the world know how beautiful their balls are. We ...
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

The Real Beauty Sketches seriously takes on the issue of female self perception.  This parody video crudely uses the same approach to make fun of the sentimental more-beautiful-than-you-think-you-are message.

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Dove's New Real Beauty Ads – A Critique | POSTMKTG

A short article on the trend in social marketing toward exploiting emotions to get quick shares.
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

One marketing instructor uses the video to prompt students to rhetorically analyze the marketing tearjerker genre.  After sharing how he uses other videos in his classroom to prompt this discussion, he reflects, "Perhaps. But maybe us marketers just need to chill a bit with the social cause thing."

 

While I agree that such strategies can be manipulative, one story from the blog post stood out.  The instructor shared that one of his students sent him a link to a parody of the Real Beauty Sketches video.  If viewer responses, like parodies, which the author pointed out are more damning, are allowed to exist alongside the professional counterparts, is there really harm in the pathetic appeals at all.  "Powerful to parody in 72 hours," he says.  If we see through this rhetoric so quickly, we are demanding the professionals step up their arguments.  That, I see, as the power of Web 2.0.

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Dove “Real Beauty” Redux – The New Inquiry

Dove “Real Beauty” Redux – The New Inquiry | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

This blog post is a summary of the controversy, but it is not overtly siding with either side:

 

"Just as Dove created the campaign in response to the fact that women had had enough of traditional advertising that asked us to feel lesser-than, it’s clear from the overwhelming response to the ad that while we’ve still had enough of that type of ad, we’re also becoming wary of the ads that use those feelings as leverage. And frankly, I’m thrilled to see such a variety of responses to the campaign. To me, it signals a desire to shed the therapeutic narrative of beauty. The question is: What narrative will we design in its place?"

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The controversial Dove Real Beauty sketch artist ads

The controversial Dove Real Beauty sketch artist ads | Critical Discussions of Beauty: Social Reaction to Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | Scoop.it
I am nervous this morning as I write this post; my stomach's all fluttery, and not really in a good way. After last week's kerfuffle over sexism, HLS, and internet trolls, I am a little hesitant to...
Bethany Alexa May Peterson's insight:

The tone of this blogger reminds me that entering into an online controversial discussion does not always feel safe.  She timidly acknowledges the critics of the video and the opportunity for trolls to take her on for expressing her views.

 

Still, she does, and what's important is how delicately she does.  Web 2.0 technologies allow for all kinds of rhetoricians, the bold nonconformist, Rogerian peacemaker, and everyone in between.  Luckily for this blogger, no trolls came to cut her down (at least not publicly, unless those comments have been removed).  The gentle nature of her defense of the video and all the sentiment involved drew commenters into  a place they could find company and agree that the ad felt "right" to them, too.

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