Can Dove carry the #RealBeauty legacy with Break the Rules?

Mohammad Kanchwala
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Can Dove carry the #RealBeauty legacy with Break the Rules?
For decades cosmetic, skincare, and fashion brands have peddled the notion that in order to look beautiful a woman has to conform to predetermined societal norms of beauty.

Women with a darker complexion have always felt persecuted by this flawed fascination of society that equates beauty with a person’s skin color. Regular women being crushed under expectations of looking a certain way in order to be considered beautiful.

Dove, one of the world’s leading skincare brands decided to break the rules by bringing together regular women from across the country to challenge society’s obsession with unrealistic standards of beauty.

Let’s break the rules of beauty

The theme for Dove’s campaign in India this time was, Let’s Break The Rules Of Beauty.

To promote this concept, Dove created a video collaborating with documentary maker, Pan Nalin. It featured women from different regions of the country and all walks of life. Homemakers, students, professionals; mothers, daughters or grandmothers all coming together to showcase that #RealBeauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and complexions.


It garnered significant response from Facebook users, with a vast majority praising Dove for further reinforcing the belief that #RealBeauty knows no bounds.


The brand has always centred their campaigns around Real Beauty and that women are beautiful regardless of their physical appearance. They have established #RealBeauty as their marketing property as they have voraciously supported and defended women’s empowerment across the social media spectrum when it comes to unrealistic standards of beauty.

The brand has carefully carved all it's important communications around Real Beauty, creating an immediate brand recall with the theme. Testimonials have been their tool of choice to put forth their argument always.

Dove has championed the cause of empowering women as their self esteem takes a beating when there are fairness creams, fashion and cosmetic brands, all using models to promote their products which creates an unsavory image in their minds of how they’re supposed to look.

Looking back

It was in 2004 that Dove first chose to take it upon themselves to start a crusade against brands and products that had a detrimental effect on women’s self esteem. The company’s campaigns have revolved around empowering women ever since.

Reinforcing the belief that every woman is beautiful and should not succumb to societal pressure, all of Dove’s campaigns advocate self esteem.

One of Dove’s previous campaigns was executed on a global scale in San Fransisco, Delhi, Shanghai, London, and Sao Paulo. The campaign included a video depicting women entering a building through two doors, one being marked ‘Beautiful’ and the other one marked ‘Average’.

It was aimed at drawing attention to the fact that women’s insecurities and low self esteem hold women down and if they feel beautiful they will feel better about themselves.

Another noteworthy campaign carried out in the form of a video was ‘Beauty Sketches’ which had women describing what they thought they looked like to a sketch artist.

The video once again attempted to point out how unrealistic portrayal of women in magazines, advertisements and films with models decked in heavy makeup and airbrushed pictures makes women feel less about themselves.

On a contradictory note, Dove has also faced a lot of flak in the past as its parent company, Unilever also manufactures Fair and Lovely, a fairness cream that promotes itself by targeting women with dark complexions.

Social media has always been distrusting and critical of this hypocritical stance on women’s beauty that Unilever’s sibling brands have leveraged in order to market their products.

Another one of Unilever’s products is Axe deodorants which is famous for its advertisements containing scantily clad women drawn towards men who use the deodorant brand which is said to glorify objectification of women’s bodies.

All of Dove’s previous campaigns have been immensely popular with powerful pitches and have received very strong reactions. In contrast to their previous campaigns, the present campaign appears to be timid but perhaps Dove has an ace up their sleeve that they plan on using at the right moment.

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