Dove "Real Beauty Sketches: PHD International,"
Ogilvy Brazil & Unilever Global Strategy Unit (Global)

Dove is committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety and in response has conducted a compelling social experiment to illustrate how this problem manifests. But how could we explore this? Documented in the short film titled Real Beauty Sketches, Dove explored how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see. What they found was that the way women depict themselves is dramatically different from how others perceive them. Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. A strategy was born centered around the most powerful medium on earth - women themselves. This was achieved by getting emotionally engaging content in front of Dove’s audience and encouraging them to share it with all of the beautiful women in their lives. The conventional way to seed video assets online is to do it slowly through local influencers. Given the strength of the content, Dove realized there was a better way. They set out to flip this model on its head by driving traffic and views as quickly as possible, optimizing globally, taking advantage of the behavioral economics insight of social proof. This allowed them to create visible momentum, resulting in the YouTube counter ‘freezing’ periodically as the system played catch up, and getting the content to appear multiple times in users social feeds, on trend charts, and organically in recommended video listings. This strategy needed to work globally, and reach women in the top 20 priority markets for Dove. Activity was launched by partnering with Unruly to create momentum in select markets. A global partnership with YouTube enabled activity to be bought analyzed and optimized centrally across 18 markets, with activity being optimized by a core team working out of the Dove HQ Command Center. This was supported by Facebook, Twitter, local market activity and a global PR strategy. The team worked hand in hand with local markets to ensure efforts were not being duplicated, and that all media, both globally and locally worked in unison to deliver the optimal results for the campaign. As a result of this the campaign was extended within local markets across multiple channels including print in Brazil, Greece, Italy. The purchase of YouTube’s ‘TrueView’ product enabled Unilever to pay only once a user had decided to not to skip and then watch at least 30 seconds of the 3 minute film. Twitter promoted trends allowing the hashtag #WeAreBeautiful to be dominant in select markets, bringing the conversation to a wider audience. Facebook activity allowed the video to reach women all over the world, on a platform where they could discuss and share the video with those who matter to them most – their family and friends. All of this activity was monitored daily, and activity was optimized against cost, interaction and engagement, market penetration, and pace of delivery - ensuring that Real Beauty Sketches were being seen by the right people, in the right place, at the right time. For this strategy to work the key was to be nimble, responsive and operate centrally. To facilitate this, a global control centre was set up to enable real-time monitoring, optimization and response to media performance, conversations, sentiment and content distribution. A central team with representatives from media, client, creative, PR and social agencies worked from this room from day 1, and for the duration of the campaign period. This global command center enabled the creation of additional creative assets for use across owned platforms based on the core topics of conversation as they emerged. The campaign achieved amazing results, becoming the most viewed piece of branded content ever on YouTube with over 121,000,000 views. Globally the content has racked up over 156,469,849 views across all video platforms. It is the 3rd most shared piece of branded content ever on the Unruly Viral video chart, with more than 3.9 million shares. In fact, the video was so popular that 1 in 10 Facebook users globally had the video appear in their newsfeed. As of the 14th of May 2013, the campaign had generated 3,961,794,019 PR & blogger impressions. The Mashable article reporting the content is the most shared Mashable article of all time, being shared over 680,000 times. Response to the content has been overwhelmingly positive with 94% positive sentiment, generating over 28,000 comments on video platforms. Paid media delivered over 805 Million impressions, directly adding over 71Million views, and creating conversation and sharing all over the web. In addition the content tapped so deeply into the consciousness of culture that the content spawned over 20 parody videos and countless responses. Dove’s Facebook page added more than 611,000 fans during the campaign period. But most importantly, the campaign made real beauty a global topic of discussion again.