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Dove’s new brand campaign calls out the ills of the Indian matchmaking process


By Amit Bapna, Editor-at-large

February 25, 2021 | 5 min read

You may not be anywhere near the office water cooler right now, but we still want to spotlight the most talked about creative from the brands that should be on your radar. Today, we consider a new campaign from Dove, which has launched a new brand campaign In India.


Dove #StopTheBeautyTest campaign

Unilever’s flagship personal care brand Dove has been known to be an ardent supporter of women’s natural beauty over the years.

Its latest film Dove #StopTheBeautyTest launched in India recently brings the spotlight on one of the biggest practices in India - the matchmaking process for marriage and the judgement and rejection faced by women during this process.

The film, conceptualised by Ogilvy India, showcases real stories of situations faced by young women across strata and geography, where they are judged for falling short on some of the other pre-conceived notions of beauty. The film has been directed by Amit Sharma of the production house, Chrome Pictures.

Link to the film: Dove #StopTheBeautyTest

According to Priya Nair, executive director, HUL & VP – Beauty and Personal Care, South Asia, “Dove has always believed that beauty should be a source of confidence, not anxiety and with #StopTheBeautyTest, we want to go one step forward in that direction.” As owners of some of the largest beauty brands in the country, the onus is on us to make beauty more positive and more inclusive, she adds. Hindustan Unilever has been working actively on evolving the definition of beauty across its portfolio of brands.

To make it relatable, the campaign has used real women and collected real stories of rejection from nationwide research. The campaign has 5 women covering the 5 key beauty prejudices of height, weight, complexion, hair type and even birthmarks – in the film. The idea is to nudge society gently but firmly to stop this ugly beauty test by sending out the message - ‘there cannot be one definition of beauty. Beauty comes in all shapes, colours and sizes.’

Says Ogilvy India’s vice-chairperson & chief client officer Hephzibah Pathak, "Dove believes that beauty should be a source of joy for women. For this intention to have meaning and start getting realised in our culture, we had to choose the moment that matters the most, to inspire change."

Sharing the relevance of the campaign, Zenobia Pithawalla, senior executive creative director at Ogilvy India adds, “In India when it comes to a woman and her beauty, she is at her most vulnerable when she is of marriageable age. 90 per cent of single women in India feel they are rejected for marriage because of their looks. We decided to intervene at this point, where the woman needs us most. For a young woman, the journey of finding a life partner doesn't have to turn into an ugly beauty test. Thus, we came up with Dove’s #StopTheBeautyTest campaign.”

Walking the talk

  • Dove, in order to give the film legs of real change, is partnering with leading matrimonial platforms, to try and free the matchmaking process of beauty biases.
  • Dove has tied up with the leading Indian matrimonial site to encourage users on the platform to look beyond body type, complexion, scars on face or hair type and length, to see new sizes and shades of beautiful.
  • The brand also plans to help rewrite matrimonial ads free of beauty biases to drive significant change in this direction.
  • In an exclusive partnership with UNICEF, the Dove self-esteem project aims to reach 6.25 million girls and boys in schools by 2024 to improve their knowledge and skills so that they enhance their body confidence and self-esteem through education materials to realize their full potential in India.
  • To perpetuate this progressive change, Dove is also looking to partner with leading women magazines in India, to celebrate the beauty of women who were not seen as beautiful enough in the run-up to marriage.

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