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Beauty runs deeper

Beauty runs deeper | Unilever | Ogilvy
Download Download JPG | 3530x2502px
Industry: Retail & Distribution
Style: Minimalism
Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

We live in a world where we’re increasingly judged at face value. From dating apps and Instagram feeds, to real life. Although many of us do this automatically to others, when it comes to ourselves, we’d like to be judged on more than what you see. So to relaunch Dove Nourishing Body Care we built on this insight and Dove’s real beauty credentials by creating a unique brand experience that revolved around a casting process unlike any Dove had embarked on before. Instead of casting real women, we chose real women without ever seeing them.


Dove is a different kind of beauty brand. It’s a brand with a purpose whose campaigns have encouraged real women to see beauty as a source of happiness, not anxiety for over a decade. After 7 years of silence it was time to relaunch Dove Nourishing Body Care, Dove’s core range of body lotions. The brief was to get lapsed and non-users to try the brand by driving re-appraisal of the redesigned range. The product attribute, Dove’s unique Nutri Duo, was key to convince women. Unlike other lotions that only care for the surface of the skin, Dove’s care works deeply to nourish below the surface. Our challenge however was to go beyond the functionalities of the product to demonstrate meaningfully how Dove Nourishing Body Care is supporting real beauty.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Could a skincare campaign go deeper than skin deep? That was the question Dove aimed to answer with its ‘Beauty Runs Deeper’ campaign. Whilst other skincare brands only focus on surface beauty, for this campaign we wanted to prove real beauty goes deeper – just like Dove’s care. We put this thought at the heart of the idea by creating a campaign that revolved around a unique casting process. Instead of featuring real women chosen using traditional street casting methods, we decided to feature women based only on their deeper stories…without seeing them until the second the cameras rolled. At no point did anyone – including casting, agency, client, or production team – see photos or videos before the shoot. The only thing reviewed were phone conversations and written stories. To safeguard their anonymity further, image blockers were installed, and names were hidden so nobody could be traced via Google.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Traditionally the beauty and skincare industry has featured flawless and idyllic models in their advertising. Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty was a revolutionary step-change in the representation of women. And over the years the unattainable and unrealistic images of women have become somewhat more diverse. However, one thing hasn’t changed – women are still being chosen simply for their appearance. Dove conducted a study in Germany ¬the primary market – which showed that in a swipe left/swipe right world, women were rejecting the idea of superficiality. This insight inspired us to push Dove’s own Real Beauty ethos even further to show that there is more to beauty than what you see. Who you are deep down radiates through. In this campaign we had the chance to show that the belief of the brand on real beauty was echoing the action of its products with Dove’s most real skincare campaign yet.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

The special casting process became the centrepiece of the campaign executions. We used multiple media touchpoints to communicate the authenticity of the experience as well as the meaningful message behind it. In the primary market of Germany, a 20s TVC and 40s cinema spot gave our audience a quick snapshot, whilst a longer Behind the Scenes film outlined transparently the experience the women went through from beginning to end. On social media a phased approach was used to first intrigue our target audience using just the silhouettes and the stories, before finally revealing the women once the TVC launched. Online content also allowed our audience to delve deeper into each of the women’s stories, as well as driving sales through the women’s personal product reviews. The casting process was even replicated by a German online editorial magazine.

List the results (30% of vote)

Dove Nourishing Body Care had been a range in sales decline. This campaign not only built brand affinity and brand love, importantly, it also translated into sales. Of the 800 women applied to take part, 18 were chosen to feature in the campaign, and they made quite an impact. In Germany, the lead market, sales increased with a 25% uplift whilst the campaign ran. And the deeper beauty message behind the campaign resonated too, reaching 103,142,943 people and counting.

Please tell us about the social behaviour and/or cultural insights that inspired your campaign

Dove’s research conducted in Germany showed that the women we were targeting were lamenting the fact that for many people there is no more to life than what you see on the surface. And when they themselves are judged in this way, they found it shallow and demotivating. The reality is they have a richer and deeper personality, and want to be seen for who they are, not just what they look like. It was clear that there was a need to re-establish this dimension of real beauty: the fact that there is more than what you see on the surface.
Production Company:
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Brand Experience & Activation
Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight
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