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05 JULY 2014

A Feminist Analysis of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Abstract: "Drawing from several areas of research, this thesis explores the ways in which Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty appropriates feminist themes to sell beauty products, to the detriment of female consumers. Advertising and marketing have long held the power to create, shape, and reinforce cultural norms, and for years, advertisers have been able to propagate and strengthen gender stereotypes. Though there has been a push since the late 1990s to stem the flow of sexist and potentially dangerous advertising messages about women's bodies, ads still disseminate harmful messages that contribute to the further sexualization and oppression of women in the United States. Dove is just one of the many female–targeted brands that claim to hold progressive, woman–positive ideals, while still selling products intended to make women more beautiful–supposedly the ultimate goal for any modern female. While the campaign professes a desire to increase confidence and self–esteem for women and girls around the globe, it promotes a post–feminist, consumerist agenda that actually reinforces what Naomi Wolf titled 'the beauty myth'. Linguistic and visual analyses of Dove's print and viral marketing tactics within the contexts of advertising, feminism, and consumer culture reveal that instead of 'redefining' beauty, the Dove campaign is, in actuality, reinforcing decades–old ideology about women's appearance and status in society."

(Caitlin McCleary, 2014)

McCleary, Caitlin M., "A Not–So–Beautiful Campaign: A Feminist Analysis of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty" (2014). University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects. http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_chanhonoproj/1691

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TAGS

2013advertising campaignanxietyappropriationbeauty industrybeauty productsbody imageco-optionconsumer culturecultural normsdepictions of womendissertationDove (brand) • Dove Real Beauty Sketches (2013) • drawingemotional responseemotive manipulationempowerment themeevocative advertisingfemale consumerfemale-targeted brandsfeminist analysisfeminist themesgender stereotypesgendered brands • honours thesis • marketing campaign • Naomi Wolf • physical appearancepost-feminist agenda • real beauty • Real Beauty (campaign) • redefining beauty • self-criticism • self-esteemself-perceptionsexualisation • sketch artist • sketching • The Beauty Myth (1990) • Unilever • University of Tennessee • viralviral adviral advertisingviral marketing tactics

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 JULY 2014

Procter & Gamble use 'Like a Girl' viral to co-opt female consumers

"Procter & Gamble Co.'s Always today is launching 'Like a Girl,' a video ... that takes issue with generations of playground taunts about people running, throwing or fighting 'like a girl.' It asks: 'When did doing something 'like a girl' become an insult?'"

(Jack Neff, 26 June 2014, Advertising Age)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 JUNE 2014

Co-option used to promote ethical consumption practices

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1967advertising analysisanimal farmschickenco-option • Compassion in World Farming (organisation) • consumption practicescrueltyemotive manipulationethical consumptionethical practicesevocative advertising • factory farming practices • farm animal • farm animal welfare • farming • food marketing • food productionintensive agriculture • intensive factory farming • intensive farminglecture formatmarketing communicationmeat production • Nestle Shreddies • poultry • poultry farming • product innovation • product labelling • product rebranding • public presentation • rhetorical fearsystemised crueltywillful ignorance

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 APRIL 2009

Design Thinking: a methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centred design ethos

"Design thinking is ... a discipline that uses the designer's sensibility and methods to match people's needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity. Like [Thomas] Edison's painstaking innovation process, it often entails a great deal of perspiration. ...

Historically, design has been treated as a downstream step in the development process – the point where designers, who have played no earlier role in the substantive work of innovation, come along and put a beautiful wrapper around the idea. To be sure, this approach has stimulated market growth in many areas by making new products and technologies aesthetically attractive and therefore more desirable to consumers or by enhancing brand perception through smart, evocative advertising and communication strategies. During the latter half of the twentieth century design became an increasingly valuable competitive asset in, for example, the consumer electronics, automotive, and consumer packaged goods industries. But in most others it remained a late–stage add–on.

Now, however, rather than asking designers to make an already developed idea more attractive to consumers, companies are asking them to create ideas that better meet consumers' needs and desires. The former role is tactical, and results in limited value creation; the latter is strategic, and leads to dramatic new forms of value."

(Tim Brown, 2008, Harvard Business Review)

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TAGS

2008 • aesthetically attractive • applied researchbest practicebrand perceptionbusiness machine • business savvy • business sense • business world • communication strategiescompetitive advantageconsumer desireconsumer electronics • consumer packaged goods • consumerscreativity • customer value • design ideasdesign methodologydesign methodsdesign thinkingdesigners • designers sensibility • development process • dictation • direct observationdiscovery through design • discrete device • electric light bulb • electric power generation • electric power transmission • envisionevocative advertisingexperimental investigationgeneralistgenius • gifted tinkerers • Harvard Business Reviewhuman-centred designhumanisation of technologyIDEOimprovisationinnovation • innovation activities • innovation processintegrationinventioninventoriterative designlightbulblone genius • market growth • market opportunity • marketplace • Menlo Park • needs and desires • new forms of value • new productsnew technologies • parlour trick • phonograph • prescient • product differentiation • products are made • products are marketed • products are packaged • products are sold • products are supported • recording dictation • replaying dictation • research and development • research and development laboratory • strategic thinking • substantive work of innovation • team-based approach • technologically feasible • Thomas Edison • trial and error • twentieth century • viable business strategy • what people want

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 JULY 2008

Dove Evolution: exploiting female anxiety about beauty and self esteem

Dove co–option through the use of female anxiety about beauty and self esteem.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Lynne Ciochetto
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