Have you seen the Dove Real Beauty Sketches ad that was released in April?
It's the most watched ad ever, so there is good chance you have at least seen someone post about it, if you haven't taken the time to watch it.
It is the most recent installment of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty which was conceived in 2004 after market research indicated only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful.
It's been nine years since the campaign launched but we have seen very little evolution in the messaging. In nine years has Dove moved the needle on the 4%? And if so, has being beautiful made women behave differently?
Being beautiful is great but why can't we get women to want to be more than just being beautiful?
I would rather be healthy. Or smart. Or admired for my courage or my wit or curiosity. Hell, I'd even be satisfied with admiration for being a hard worker.
I work hard to achieve the tiniest level of success in these attributes and I firmly believe there is inherent beauty that comes from achieving these things.
The campaign spot touches on beauty:
"She looks closed off, and fatter. Sadder, too. The second one looks more open, friendly and happy."
And also confidence:
"I should be more grateful of my natural beauty. It impacts the choices and the friends that we make. The jobs we apply for. How we treat our children. It impacts everything. Couldn't be more critical to happiness."
"We spend a lot of time as women analyzing and trying to fix the things that aren't quite right and we should spend more time appreciating the things that we do like."
I have no doubt this is their intention, but when you tie the messaging up with beauty, something our culture is obsessed with, it is hard to see the confidence message. The commercial finishes with:
"You're more beautiful than you think."
This is a time where the sign-off message really matters. What if they signed off with something like:
"Believe in yourself."
"Don't let beauty dictate your potential accomplishments."
I encourage Dove to take the campaign further to help *everyone* admire women for possessing confidence to achieve goals.
Let's celebrate Brittany Wenger, an 18 year old high school student who developed a computer algorithm to diagnose Leukemia.
Or Brittney Griner who might get to play in the NBA.
Or the accomplishments of Marissa Mayer, the first female engineer at Google who is currently has the confidence to make unpopular decisions at Yahoo - and drastically turn around the company.
Or the millions of women who work and juggle familial obligations.
Perhaps I am asking too much of Dove, after all, it is *just* advertising (sarcasm intended), but with the viewership numbers they have enjoyed, I would like to see the campaign pushed further. Women have a hunger for increasing their confidence. Evolve the campaign and help us.