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Special Project

Special Project
From the 10th Annual Shorty Awards

Dove and Shonda Rhimes Launch Real Beauty Productions

Entered in Branded Series, Integrated Campaign


For 60 years Dove has been a leader in championing real women who embrace their beauty on their own terms. Although culturally, there has been an elevated awareness of the lack of female voice in defining beauty and the representation of all women in the media, we find that beauty is still a source of anxiety, and women don't feel represented - in fact, 7 out of 10 women say that very few real women look like the women in media and advertising. We know that for women to see a more inclusive beauty, the way they're seen on screens must be challenged and changed. Right now, the media is serving an unrealistic standard of beauty that women and girls can't relate to or hope to achieve. It's time to put real women in front of and behind the camera to expand the definition of beauty for women and girls everywhere by telling their own personal beauty stories with their own voices.

Strategy and Execution

Dove realized that although the brand was the first to champion female empowerment in the beauty space there was newfound cultural momentum around brand's who wanted to create their own messages of self-esteem and confidence. Edelman spearheaded a strategy to redefine how the brand is widening the definition of beauty and reignite brand affinity for the next 60 years. We crafted a campaign that cuts through the crowded 'fempowerment marketing' landscape to engage millennial consumers unfamiliar with 2004's "Campaign for Real Beauty" and make them believers in the brand and its legacy in championing the concept of "real".

The brand set out to put real women in front of and behind the camera to expand the definition of beauty. Dove employed an all-female production crew alongside Creative Director Shonda Rhimes to film real women as they share their stories that redefine beauty.

  • Engaged the Loyal Shonda Rhimes Fanbase: The launch of Real Beauty Productions and the call for submissions by Shonda Rhimes and Dove on social was strategically timed to ABC's #TGIT lineup, a prime time for engagement with Shonda's fan base. Social support was driven by groups of beauty, parenting, entertainment and female empowerment influencers via national and regional Twitter parties in a move to engage Shonda loyalists and introduce them to her latest project.
  • Leveraged our Trusted Communities: As the title sponsor of premier influencer conference Mom 2.0, we have the attention of thousands of bloggers each year. Prior to the release of "Meet Cathleen," Dove leveraged the Mom 2.0 community by teasing the film during the "#RealBeauty, Real Stories" keynote address with renowned actress Julianne Margulies and Dove Self-Esteem Global Ambassador Jess Weiner to drive views the following week.
  • Employed Accredited Experts: The second film "Meet Kylee" featured Salt Lake City barber Kylee Howell, who eschewed traditional feminine norms to define beauty for herself. To support the intrinsic connection between identity and beauty, we commissioned research with Edelman Intelligence exploring lesbian and gay women's relationship with beauty and tapped sexuality and relationship expert Dr. Logan Levkoff for media opportunities.
  • Rooted the Brand's Work Within the Media Industry: In addition to partnering with a credible industry insider, Dove rooted itself in the conversation surrounding inclusivity and media by leveraging the Emmys this year. Dove engaged nominees Samira Wiley and Uzo Aduba alongside Real Beauty Productions director Liz Garbus for a paid social play leveraging original quotes that drove the conversation to inclusivity prior to the ceremony.
  • Married Our New Approach to our Social Mission: In launching the third film "Meet Diana," we found synergy in Diana's journey as a mother and teacher to our long-standing social mission, the Dove Self-Esteem Project. We celebrated Diana with a Dove Self-Esteem Workshop event with nation media in NYC where Shonda and Diana both mentored local NYC girls through an inspiring Dove Self-Esteem Workshop focused on storytelling.
  • Results

    Dove Real Beauty Productions has set the brand apart in a crowded fempowerment space as a brand that does good not just says it. Overall, the campaign generated submissions from over 4,000 real women and the subsequent films garnered more than 3 billion earned media impressions across national broadcast, print, and online. The three real women films have been viewed more than 8.7MM times.

    The campaign also resulted in the following:


    Entrant Company / Organization Name

    Edelman & UEG, Dove


    Entry Credits