Cannes Lions

Beauty runs deeper

OGILVY, London / UNILEVER – DOVE / 2019

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Case Film
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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.


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.


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.


The special casting process became the centrepiece of the campaign executions, but first we needed to find the women. Digital was the best platform to ensure anonymity, so we targeted social groups, forums, communities and websites to post our callout. We received 100s of stories, eventually narrowing down to 18 women who were invited to the shoot day AKA the reveal day. We then used multiple media touchpoints to communicate the authenticity of the experience. In the primary market of Germany, a 20s TVC and 40s cinema spot gave our audience a snapshot, whilst a longer BTS film outlined transparently the entire journey. On social media a phased approach was used to first intrigue our target audience using the silhouettes, before finally revealing the women once the TVC launched. Website content allowed our audience to delve deeper, as well as driving sales through the women’s personal product reviews.


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.

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