The Deconstructed Brief

Real Beauty Bottles

Real Beauty Bottles

Brand: Dove

Agency: Ogilvy UK


Extend the life and impact of the "Real Beauty" campaign

One Thought:

Real beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and bottles.


How do you take a campaign that has been in market for over a decade and consistently refresh and reinvent it? 

Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign has had that exact challenge worldwide since 2004 and has successfully renewed, refreshed and reinvented itself over and over again. Although the campaign is ever evolving and growing, the strategy has essentially remained the same: "Make women feel comfortable in the skin that they're in.

So, why stick with not only the same strategy but essentially the same campaign for over 10 years? Solid research insights. In order to continue the mission of "creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence and not anxiety,” all campaigns for Dove “Real Beauty” are formed around their own insight. The initial campaign was built around the insight that only 2 percent of women consider themselves beautiful. And each iteration of the campaign is built around actionable insights.

For the “Real Beauty” bottles, Dove is proving that actions speak louder than words — that every woman's version of beauty is different, and that these differences should be celebrated, not scrutinized.

Lessons to be learned:

  • Take the time to uncover solid research insights — Don't overlook the importance of research among your target audience. Developing actionable research insights is crucial in the development of successful creative campaigns. Although there is a time and a place, research doesn't need to take years or even months. You can obtain these insights through alternative methodologies, such as your social media platforms. Just get out there and have a conversation with those who are buying your product/service. 
  • Actions speak louder than words — Formulating a strong brand message and story is important, but with that, it should permeate every aspect of your business, right down to the actual packaging. If your organization is all in, then your audience is going to follow suit. 
  • Simplicity can speak volumes — Inspiration can be found in simplicity. Following one simple, clear message gives your target audience and even your organization something to rally around. When looking at a new campaign, ask yourself, "What is the one thing, if nothing else, that I want people to remember about us?"
  • Every good campaign has advocates and detractors — With every good campaign comes those who aren't thrilled. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't take a stance. You can't be all things to all people. And that means that, sometimes, you'll have some that are vocally opposed. If you never have any enemies, it means you never stood for anything. A little controversy can be a good thing, especially if you're taking a stand for something your organization believes in.