The doves beauty campaign






The dove’s beauty campaign

The Unilever Company is a multinational and a multi-producer of numerous consumer goods. This company is involved in the production of a myriad of consumer goods which include; foods, beverages, cleaning agents, grooming and personal care products (Wesley, 2007). The company has been identified over the years as a leading producer of consumer goods around the world. The company has been placed third in terms of revenues collected in the consumer goods market. The company has differentiated its production into over four hundred brands. Some of the brands include; blue band, omo, dove, flora, Lipton, sure, sun silk, Knorr, and aviance. This company is based in Rotterdam, Netherlands and London in the United Kingdom. The company also boasts numerous branches which are scattered all over the world.

Dove is a personal grooming and care brand and is owned by the company, Unilever. The brand consists of personal care products both for men and women. Products produced under this brand are; antiperspirants, body washes, beauty bars, moisturizer gels and a variety of hair and facial care products. Products under this umbrella are synthesized from natural products like vegetable oils. The ultimate goal of production is marketing. The entire producers in the market aim at increasing the sales of their brands in the market in a bid to increase their total revenue (Kevin and Philip, 2005, 135). Consequently, in a multi-producer market numerous efforts must be channeled to compete favorably with other producers within the market. Unique strategies must be formulated and implemented accordingly in order to win the trust of consumers.

In the year 2006, the Unilever Company under its Dove brand rolled out a campaign duped the Hips feel good- Dove campaign for real beauty (Wesley, 2007, 1). The campaign is a real example of integrated marketing communication strategy in practice. The campaign was set out targeting the females in the market by holding an educative kind of campaign on women. This subsequent re-launch of the campaign was carried out with a list of goals at the back of mind of the marketing team. Prior to the rolling out, wide consultations and deliberations among various people in different departments were done to come up with a master plan for the strategy.

Situation analysis: goals and objectives

The campaign was one of the most tactful ever rolled out by the Unilever Company under the stewardship of Kerstin Dunleavy, the brand manager of the Dove brand (Jonathan, 2006, 1679). This strategy was not being implemented blindly. A prefeasibility study of the same had been carried out prior to its implementation. A vigorous search for a perfect and a viable strategy by the company was inevitable. The plan was rolled out with a number of goals set to be achieved. The Dove campaign for real beauty in a nut shell is an international effort that was aimed at promoting consciousness in women of real beauty and boosting their self-esteem. It focused chiefly on bringing a real change in the way women perceived beauty.

The management of the Dove brand had set out the strategy in a bid to achieve a myriad of objectives. They applied similar tactics as those used by charities to achieve the objectives. The main aim of the Dove real beauty campaign was to increase their share in the beauty products market around the globe (Jonathan, 2006, 1679). The management believed that their engagement with the public in their campaigns would make their products known and increase to a great extent their preference by the consumers in the market. An increase in preference of their products would absolutely result in an increase in the sales volume of the brands products in the market. The company also aimed at promoting loyalty of the consumers to the brand’s products. Brand loyalty is very essential in increasing the market share and index of any company in a multiple producer market. The Dove brand marketing campaign was designed to increase the loyalty of the consumers to the particular brand.

The campaign which was a brain child of Ogilvy and Mather of Brazil was crafted creatively with a mission of countering the competition yielded in the market by other manufacturers of toiletries (Wesley, 2007, 5). Most of the marketing strategies that were being used by most producers were close to similar and hence were less effective. In the quest to bring a dynamic change in the way of advertising, this strategy was conceived. The company’s aim was to establish a unique strategy that could not be easily copied by other producers in the market. They considered that the beauty industry is highly competitive with plentiful well supported brands. Consequently, this technique was absolutely a way forward to countering the competition in the market.

The company also wanted to foster a good relationship with the public. They wished to carry out the campaign as a part of their corporate social responsibility. Introduction of a new perspective to view beauty and an effort to raise the self-esteem of the women in the world would work perfectly as a corporate social responsibility for the company. This would enable them to gain a competitive advantage over their competitive rivals. Global citizenship makes a firm to be more accepted in the market (Kevin and Philip, 2005, 165). In summary, the campaigns were aimed at increasing the sales volume, increasing the aggregate share of the market of beauty products and more so gaining a competitive advantage over other firms in the beauty products market.

Background and forecast

The campaign’s foundations can be traced back to the year 2003 when the company’s executive convened a meeting to discuss the future of this brand. A brand is the most important intangible asset of every manufacturing firm. The company’s brand management had noted a sharp decline in the sales of that particular brand. Its sales statistics were not impressive. Something had to be done urgently to rescue this capsizing ship. The company hence took a focused brand analysis of the dove brand with the guidance of the Ernest Ditcher Institute, a Zurich based market research firm (Wesley, 2007, 3). The research revealed that the initial methods and techniques which had been employed in the marketing of the brand had lost the vigor. The old strategies had lost favour in the market and hence the brand was no longer eye catching to the consumers in the beauty products market.

The formulation of this new strategy, a beauty campaign was done after conduction of a research by a team that was headed by the brand’s manager Dunleavy. The team had an image in mind of the result and impact of the implementation of the draft Dove beauty campaign. They predicted that the strategy would result in an increase in the market share. They also had in mind that this strategy would be outstanding over the conventional strategies that were being applied before. They also speculated a rejuvenation of the functional strength of the Dove brand. They also believed that the benefits that would accrue to the firm far outweighed the risks. The committee tasked with this was optimistic that this approach was without doubt going to yield the best results (Jonathan, 2006, 1681). The company predicted an increase by 80 percent of the total sales revenue of the Dove brand after the campaign.

S.W.O.T Analysis of the hips feel good – Dove campaign for real beauty

The Dove campaign for real beauty had its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The evaluation of the campaign based on these grounds is essential in order to establish the viability of the program in future.

The campaign has a myriad of fortes due to its tactful formulation and implementation. The campaign has been strengthened by its social acceptability. It has been embraced widely as it promotes gain of self-esteem among women and girls. The campaign has also offered free publicity. The plan acknowledges and credits customers knowledge as the rating of beauty is done freely by any member of the society. The program also awakens individual empowerment among women (Wesley, 2007, 5) It also directs women to challenge the status quo by diversifying the description of beauty. The plan has also enabled the females to boost their self-image and esteem as well. The campaign’s uniqueness has also played a great role in its success.

The campaign has also faced challenges in its implementation. The Doves real beauty pictures could be big phonies. The Unilever Company has been termed as hypocritical for using sexually suggestive ladies in their advertisements which has raised issues of ethics (Jonathan, 2006, 1683). Their advertisements have been termed to be contradictory due to the double thought approach method they have used. For instance, they state that beauty does not lie on the curvy look and in another case they have put it “love your curves as long as they are tight and firm. This has resulted in a conflicting brand image which has hampered the intended effect.

The campaign has a great potential which can be exploited to maximize the benefits accruing to the company. The potential lies in other opportunities for instance embracing a similar method in promoting men’s products in the market. Nonetheless, the campaign is faced by a number of threats. One is the possible duplication of their strategy by other firms as their strategy. This will reduce the affectivity of the campaign. Dunleavy said that” if competition copies our strategy we will just become one of them (Wesley, 2007, 2). The path and approach taken by the campaign also brings the risk of narrowing the usage of the Dove brand’s products to only the curvy and plump women. Continued use of the strategy is also bound to bring boredom to the targeted group hence making it less effective. The Dove onslaught video also raised a variety of parodies.

Segmentation analysis

Market segmentation is a strategy used in marketing whereby the broad target market is dividing into subsets (Barney, 2003, 354). Each subset consists of consumers with similar needs. Thereafter, a suitable marketing strategy and technique is formulated and implemented with the needs of that particular subset in mind. For instance, market segmentation is used to identify the most appropriate media for advertising to a particular target group. Due to the similarity and homogeneity of needs and attitudes in a particular segment, there exists a great likelihood of a similar response to a similar marketing strategy. Small segments that exist in the market are referred to as market niches.

The Dove brand management came to a realization that their business was basically to sell products to their clientele without attempting to create a special touch in the market. Treating all the clientele alike without considering their specific needs was turning to be lethal. The Dove brand manager, Dunleavy formed a committee to oversee the promotion of this brand. A research that was conducted indicated that consumer’s preferred the Dove products due to their mild nature, their moisturizing sensation, their sweet fruity smell and more so the natural ingredients used to make them (Wesley, 2007, 4). However, the image of the brand was not suitable and hence the sales had declined by a great deal.

The Dove brand management under the stewardship of Dunleavy took an initiative to split their products’ market into several segments. One of the portions consisted of lady consumers of the Doves products. The company speculated a great sales potential in the middle class women. They hence designed a tactful strategy to lure more women into using their beauty products to facilitate them achieve real beauty and hence raise their self-image and esteem (Kelvin and Philip, 2005, 456). This was done using a number of advertisements on billboards and over the internet that facilitated the involvement of the general public by giving their opinions on various aspects of beauty.

Market segmentation table for the Dove Brand

WHO (Demographical segmentation)

Women in the middle class in the mid ages

WHAT Catering for the special women beauty needs

WHERE (Geographical segmentation) The European countries as well as the American countries

WHEN (Time frame) Year 2004, the first phase and the second phase in year 2006

HOW (Usage situation) Use of Dove brand products to enhance beauty and self esteem

WHY (benefit sought) Increasing the volume sales and building a positive brand image.

Competition analysis

The Dove beauty campaign for real beauty was rolled out after a bitter realization of the decline in sales of the brands products. This decline in sales was as a result of the competition yielded by other brands from rival companies for example, the Lux beauty products. This decline was also as a result of the diminishing image of the dove brand.

Financial analysis

The implementation of the Hips feel good- dove beauty campaign required an intensive amount of capital. The company was to use an aggregate of 27 million dollars in Europe only.

Key success factors and uncertainties

The campaigns key success factor was the uniqueness of the campaign. The campaign was one of its kinds to be used as a marketing strategy. However, the campaign also had an uncertainty of success once implemented. The company also speculated a possible imitation by other firms which would result in dilution of its impact.

Analysis of alternative solutions

Other marketing strategies could have been used in promoting the Dove brand. The first option would be Guerilla marketing which involves use of not very formal strategies for example issuance of free samples, caps and tees. The method is cheaper compared to other methods. However, the company cannot effectively build a brand image as the strategy is so common. The second one is cause marketing. In this method, a company is involved in charitable activities in the society and hence wins the public trust in their products. This method is effective as philanthropists will recommend the purchase of their products in order to ensure continued support of the sponsorship programs (Barney, 2003 576). On the other hand, the method is not effective for large firms like the Unilever as the effect of their charitable activities may not be felt across their expansive market. The third alternative marketing strategy is sports marketing. The firm sponsors sports activities and sports people. This is advantageous as the fan base appreciates the support of the company by purchasing their products. The method however, may be ineffective as not all people in the target market are fans of sports.


In the contemporary, marketing strategies are cropping up at a high rate. The current most strategy is the integrated marketing communication strategy. This is a comprehensive strategy which involves coordination of several strategies by a single firm in the quest of increasing the market share (Kelvin and Philip, 2005, 483). In this approach, the issues of the firm’s culture, the public relations, the pricing techniques and advertising techniques are used comprehensively to make a single strategy. This strategy is highly recommendable to such big firms with a large pool of resources. It ensures that almost all needs in the market are fended for and hence the result is a rise in the market share of the company.


Barney, J. (2003). On becoming a strategic partner. New York: Springer LTD

Jonathan, K. (2006). Unilever PLC: Campaigning for real beauty campaign. Encyclopedia of major marketing. Volume 2. Pages 1679-1683.

Kelvin, K, Philip, K. (2005) Marketing management. (14th ED). New Jersey

Prentice Hall Pearson.

Wesley, D. (2007). Hips feel good- Dove’s campaign. Ontario: University of western Ontario.

Get 15% discount on your first order with us
Use the following coupon

Order Now