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Inside Dove’s mission to combat the negative effects of beauty filters

June 21, 2023 | 6 min read

The campaign won in the Social Purpose category at The Drum Awards for Marketing EMEA 2023 as well as being awarded the prestigious Chair Award.

Dove changed the conversation around beauty filters with its ##DoveSelfEsteem campaign

Dove changed the conversation around beauty filters / Dove

Dove has changed the conversation about the impact of social media on young girls’ mental health with its impactful ’Let’s Change Beauty’ campaign.

The Idea

Since 2004, Dove has been campaigning for ‘real beauty’ as part of that mission Dove wanted to raise awareness of the harmful beauty standards that affect young women. It recently turned its attention to selfie culture in teenagers. The Self-Esteem project and online toolkit were conceptualized to help families understand how to cope with low self-esteem and challenge perceptions of digital beauty. The overall ambition was to teach the next generation to feel comfortable in their own skin.

The Brief

After creating the Dove Self Esteem Project Toolkit, which offered kids and parents articles and resources to help build better self-esteem, Dove needed a way to distribute the downloadable toolkit.

The first step was to create a Body Toxicity Index, which helped Dove’s media agency Mindshare identify the most receptive and vulnerable audiences and what media channels they were using. The index used data across TV channels, programs, social posts, influencers and online publications to rank them in terms of their possible toxic effect, then ordering them from the most toxic through to the least.

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Once the ranking system had been set up, Mindshare and Dove then created a media plan to deliver the downloadable toolkit via a QR code.

The index allowed Dove to place its campaign on TV shows that showed unrealistic or unattainable beauty standards, such as Love Island, The Only Way is Essex, Keeping Up with The Kardashians and Real Housewives. The media plan targeted influencers and celebrity feeds that promoted toxic beauty standards as well as placing the QR codes next to positive beauty influencers.

Avoiding wastage, the index also told Dove where not to place the ads, such as in older demographic shows How to Look Good Naked and What Not To Wear.

The Results

Download numbers were the key KPI for Dove. The Dove Self Esteem Project Toolkit achieved upwards of 4,000 downloads, with 134% from the target demographic. Among its target demographic it saw a 21% brand affinity uplift and an 11.9% overall uplift. During the time the toolkit was promoted, brand power index amongst 18-34-year-olds increased from 146-148 Q3 MAT 2022.

The media plan using the index proved effective, with QR code scans peaking during high-indexing body toxicity programming shows Love Island and Married at First Sight. The ad within Love Island also drove social conversation, with Love Islander Georgia Louise Harrison publicly promoting the campaign and using the hashtag #NoDigitalDistortion.

This campaign won at The Drum Awards for Marketing EMEA 2023. Find out more about The Drum’s Global Awards program or head to our case studies hub to read more award-winning stories.

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