Dove’s “choose beautiful” campaign reinforces commitment to long term strategy

Whether you love Dove or hate them, think they connect well with their target group, or are pirating a cause to hawk their wares, you can’t argue with the consistency or their messaging. Last week Dove launched another iteration of their “real beauty” campaign with #ChooseBeautiful, a global experiment spanning San Francisco, Shanghai, Delhi, London and Sao Paulo featuring women choosing to enter buildings through either the “beautiful” or “average” door. They filmed the results and documented reactions and discussion. At the heart of it is the message that women have the power to choose to feel beautiful. Have a look at the video here.



I’ve written extensively on this blog about their previous campaigns, which I’ve included as links at the bottom of this post. What is most remarkable is Dove’s power of consistency. Ever since the campaign for real beauty was conceived in 2004, Dove have been very focused. They have had a purpose and message consistent over time that reflects their values, and I think there’s something to be learned in that for all of us. Here’s a brief look at that consistency:

Global market research in 2004 revealed that only 4% of women considered themselves beautiful. Subsequently Dove embarked on the “Campaign for Real Beauty” to empower women to be comfortable in the skin they are in.

2004: Fat or Fab? Wrinkled or Wonderful billboards. Deemed controversial at the time, the conversation began.








2006: Little Girls (Released during 2006 Superbowl – tapped emotions and went mainstream).









2006: Evolution (Featuring the Photoshopped girl next door becoming billboard supermodel) This won Grand Prix advertising awards globally and won the hearts of consumers. Remember this was before the great unwashed realized how photos could be manipulated.









2007: Onslaught (A tour of advertising and its effects on young girls tapped emotional hot triggers particularly in the very industry that Dove competes in)









2008: Pro-Age (Showing mature women in their skin and not much else)










2010: Men Care (Launched during 2010 Superbowl)











2013: Sketches (Featuring the forensic artist and blind sketches mirroring personal perceptions)









2014: Patches (The beauty patch placebo – beauty is a state of mind)









2015: Dove Men Care (Real strength during 2015 Superbowl)









2015: Choose beautiful (Where door selection reflects personal perceptions)








While there has been branching off into new product lines, and occasionally new targets markets when focusing on older women and men, the core value of the message has been consistent: natural beauty and empowerment trumps all. So what’s to be learned from all this? As marketers, I think there are 3 things:

  1. Have a purpose.
  2. Have a consistent message over time.
  3. Ensure what you are doing reflects your values.

Truly Dove has achieved what few other brands have – purpose, consistency and values through a well targeted message and fresh new creative over time.

Here are some direct links to previous posts about Dove on this blog:

Dove patches: from tricks to truth and remaining true to their positioning 

Dove Real Beauty Sketches: a campaign of a movement?



Mary Charleson

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