When Dove launched its first #RealBeauty campaign over 15 years ago, celebrating “normal” women and their bodies was a revolution. Today, the body positivity movement has reached mainstream brands and media. But if you look closer, bodies that don’t comply with mainstream beauty standards are still judged and discriminated against, especially on social media. To reclaim their thought-leader position in the movement to challenge and diversify beauty standards, engage their target group of women ages 18 to 50 and create conversation around the brand and its purpose, Dove decided to raise awareness on the massive issue of body shaming on social media.
Dove asked us:
- To raise awareness among the target group, in the media and social networks about body shaming in social media and to show how everyone can take action against it,
- to make a contribution in the fight against the toxic effects of this social media phenomenon - for a more positive approach to beauty.
Body shaming is a mass phenomenon. According to a Dove survey, 2 out of 3 women in Germany have experienced it; and both media and influencers have covered the topic. Yet, people experiencing body shaming are left alone to deal with it – being told that they shouldn‘t let it get to them. In order to break the negative power of body shaming and offer real support for its victims, we need to release the pressure on them and rally the anonymous crowd of bystanders to support them. To make a difference, Dove needed to go beyond raising awareness to start a conversation and spark action.
Anonymity as a hiding place is the real problem of online body shaming. Both the body shamers and the witnesses accept the internet as a lawless space where a different etiquette applies. But what if we could make people realise that the same standards should be applied to body shaming on social media as in real life? What if in doing so, we could make witnesses of online body shaming step out of anonymity and stand up against the body shaming comments they see? Dove transports the anonymous social media world into real life: With a real person staged in public surrounded by real body shaming comments in a larger-than-life Instagram post. A social experiment to find out: How do people react to witnessing body shaming in real life?
The hero piece of the execution: A two-minute branded video clip that captures the social experiment and makes the issue of body shaming tangible. Featured on Dove’s owned channels as well as in earned and paid media coverage, the film sparks an impulse to stand up against body shaming and stand alongside those affected. The campaign was also driven by a diverse cast of 16 Instagram influencers, including a TV celebrity. As content creators with different looks, backgrounds and stories to tell, they were able to bring the campaign to life by sharing their individual experiences with body shaming and asking their followers to join Dove in standing up against it. Across the influencers’ content and all owned and paid channels, Dove was able to educate its audience on what steps they can take to fight body shaming and spread body love.
The campaign was a success that exceeded all expectations: lifestyle media of all age target groups embraced the campaign enthusiastically, as did influencers and their followers. Many influencers were so passionate about the campaign that they created much more content than planned - far exceeding reach and engagement benchmarks. Followers shared their own experiences and images of the OOH visuals in their cities, they passionately discussed the issue of body shaming on social media and did not hesitate to express their support for the Dove campaign.
- 75 million total media reach
- 6.4 million Influencer reach (impressions)
- 3-5 X higher-than-average dwell time in key publications
- 13K landing page views for Dove
- 500K online video views
- 5 X higher interaction rate and twice as many ‘shares’ than other Dove campaigns, according to Unilever’s internal reporting
- Twice as many shares as other Dove campaigns