This case is about Unilever's "Campaign for Real Beauty" (CFRB) marketing campaign for its leading personal care brand 'Dove'. CFRB was a multi-faceted campaign that sought to challenge the stereotypes set by the beauty industry. This campaign featured regular women (non-models) who were beautiful in their own way and did not fit in with the idealized images of models, super-models, and celebrities. Unilever developed the CFRB campaign based on a global study on the perceptions and attitudes of women with regard to their personal beauty and well-being. This campaign was a huge success as it was appreciated by many consumers and resulted in increased sales of Dove products. It also generated plenty of buzz and wide media coverage for the Dove brand. However, critics felt that this campaign could prove counter-productive as marketing messages in the beauty industry were largely aspirational and Dove could be perceived as a brand for fat and ugly girls. Some critics also felt that CFRB was a contradictory as it strived to sell Dove Firming Range of products in the guise of debunking beauty stereotypes. Issues:»
Understand the factors that contributed to the success of Unilever's "Campaign for Real Beauty" for Dove » Appreciate the importance of market research and application of consumer behavior insights in the development of a marketing strategy » Understand the issues and challenges faced in the implementation of a cause-related (Societal) marketing campaign Defying Beauty Stereotypes
In June 2005, consumer products major Unilever launched an ad campaign in the US for its Dove Intensive Firming5 range (Firming range) of products. This campaign, which featured regular women (non-models), was part of Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" (CFRB). According to the company, the main purpose of CFRB was to challenge the stereotypes set by the beauty industry over the years. The beauty industry, it was felt, had showcased an image of women, too perfect for most women to aspire for. The CFRB was launched as a global campaign by Unilever in September 2004 to promote its Dove range of personal care products. The Dove brand was one of Unilever's leading personal care brands, with products like soap, body-wash, shampoo, etc. The stated aim of the campaign was to act as a catalyst to broaden the definition of beauty and encourage discussion about its aspects. Unilever's consumer research studies had indicated that beauty advertising was out of sync with its consumers. Beauty advertisers bombarded consumers with idealized images of models, super-models and celebrities, which left the consumers feeling bad about their own body image and hurt their self-esteem. These insights prompted Unilever to launch a campaign in the early part of 2004 in Europe featuring non-models. The ads were for its Dove Firming Lotion (Firming Lotion) and featured six women of various body types Defying Beauty Stereotypes Contd...
The campaign raised a nationwide debate on beauty stereotypes in the countries it was launched. The growth in sales for the Dove brand was also phenomenal. It was reported that after the campaign, the sale of Firming Lotion in the UK rose by 700 percent.6 In the first phase, CFRB was started with the intention of only positioning the Dove brand and featured no products. It showed five images of women of different shapes, sizes and ages, who were each beautiful in their own way, but did not fit in with the conventional beauty stereotypes. Each of these ads was posted on billboards and the print media and the public were asked to make judgment about the looks of the women. For instance, an ad showing a woman with gray hair asked the public to choose between "Gray" and "Gorgeous?" The public were invited to the website Campaignforrealbeauty.com (CFRB website) to participate in the poll and take part in discussions about what constitutes beauty. Interactive billboards were also set up at Times Square in New York, USA, to...
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