Girls are in crisis. Their self-esteem is at an all-time low largely due to the proliferation of social media and the unrealistic beauty ideals they scroll past daily. Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP) research showed that girls as young as 11 are digitally distorting their selfies beyond recognition to match the retouched images they see in their feeds. As a result, girls are more likely to experience body dysmorphia, anxiety, depression and serious long-term health disorders.
As a brand known for driving conversations around real beauty and changing beauty for the next generation, Dove had a responsibility to tackle this threat. Dove curated a simple, effective toolkit through DSEP that would help guide difficult conversations with teens about the dangers of digital distortion and provide solutions to make social media a healthier place - but awareness of DSEP and its resources remained low despite being around for nearly two decades
While Dove continues to achieve significant growth as a differentiated and meaningful brand, its brand salience with the next generation is being challenged. As newer, sleeker brands with progressive missions and lifestyle offerings developed with Gen Z in mind take up share in the beauty space – the Dove Self-Esteem Project (in its current existence as an online PDF toolkit) started to feel less relevant to young girls, which ultimately influenced their product consideration.
For Dove to re-establish itself as the beauty authority, their marketing objective was to convey Dove’s purpose in society through driving awareness of the Dove Self-Esteem Project.
So how do we drive awareness of these resources and launch a movement to help parents and teens navigate the emotional challenges of beauty in the digitally distorted age? We intercept the problem at its source: social media.
We partnered with Lizzo to drop the Naked Truth on Instagram – an unretouched, naked selfie that urged people to get real about harmful beauty standards. Who better to help Dove destroy the dark side of social media than Lizzo, reigning queen of the kind of content that makes you feel good as hell. Lizzo’s candid sharing and vulnerability broke the internet, amassing 2.4M likes. One post became a rallying cry for change and spread a positive message for young girls.
We made conversations about social media doable, visible and ownable by sharing simple activities in social, celeb content, media partnerships – elevating the Dove Self-Esteem Project as more than a curriculum and into an uplifting movement designed to empower millions of girls.
The campaign started with a Dove film that showcased the harmful effects of social media on teens, ending with the call to action to “Have The Selfie Talk” at Dove.com, which featured the downloadable toolkit of resources to spark the conversation.
Next, in collaboration with influencers and paid partners, Dove and Lizzo transformed The Selfie Talk into real world activities girls and parents/mentors could actually participate in including, IG Lives of mega-influencers such as @mamabee having Selfie Talks with their daughters and influencer-generated expressions of the Selfie Talk.
Dove exploded in online social conversation around teens and digital distortion driving massive exposure for DSEP in unexpected outlets like The Cut, E! Online, Buzzfeed, Complex, ELLE, Paper Magazine, Forbes, and Insider. Bravo Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Cynthia Bailey had a candid Selfie Talk with her daughter in a special brand sponsored segment of the show, along with scaled digital extensions across the Peacock network.
Exceeded benchmarks and delivered the best-ever earned reach for Dove in recent campaign history
#1 most talkable campaign in the history of Dove a 2,650% increase from daily 2020 DSEP downloads.
Lizzo’s launch post announcing Dove partnership garnered 2.4M+ likes and 47.7K+ comments – one of the most engaged images on her page of all time!
Driving awareness of the Dove Self-Esteem Project:
93% of 355 earned placements include a Dove Self-Esteem Project mention
80% of coverage features quotes from brand partner Lizzo
Conveying Dove’s purpose in society through driving consumer action:
28K+ downloads of DSEP Confidence Kit – a 2,348% increase in average daily downloads