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Michaela Faber
18 October 2021

Is it worth following in Dove's marketing footsteps? Unilever's Dove Reverse Selfie Video Test results

I remember seeing an ad for an American makeup brand that featured flawless faces. This set me off to search the web for natural beauty campaigns and the result was very meager. There are hardly any campaigns tackling the psychological impact of flawlessness on young women and men. Campaigns advocating natural beauty are rare. So we wanted to check how younger consumers aged 18−35 perceived the Dove campaign. Is it worth following in Dove’s footsteps or do consumers prefer a fictional world of flawless appearance?
By the age of 13 about 80% of girls and young women distort their looks on social media. We believe that with the increasing number of mental health problems among more and more young people, it is time for brands to lend a helping hand using a real marketing approach, with real faces and real bodies. We love Dove’s approach.
But do consumers like it as much as we do? We surveyed British women and men aged 18−35 to get their feedback.
How did we test this idea
What did we test? Dove Reverse Selfie Ad Video.
Who did we target? National representative sample of Brits between 18 to 35 y.o.
How was it tested? We used the Video Test solution on the Fastuna platform. Online panel respondents were sent a survey link to their email. After watching the video, they answered our survey questions. We also added a bespoke question to find out how his ad was impacting the way people felt about themselves.
'It speaks to me and is very true'
Majority of young Brits, both men and women, liked the video. The General Perception Score is 64 out of 100, which is a good result, according to Fastuna’s standardized norms. Many found it very believable, interesting to watch and highlighting a very clear message. The relevance score is average though the video is more relevant to women than to men. And it makes them want to try Dove.
The performance dashboard — Fastuna
'It is addressing a problem we face today'
All respondents' quotes — Fastuna
The high ratings given to the video by both men and women can be attributed to the importance of the topic and the pressure young people feel about their appearance from social media. It deeply touches many of our respondents personally.
'Shows how much social media is harming girl's self esteem, was relevant to me, was moving, familiar to me, was a kind and gentle ad, makes me want to find out more.' Female, 27
'This is so right. I am male and honestly the pressure of all these photos of looking good is actually not appealing to me at all. It's not something I like to see, it just looks fake and false and like people aren't confident in themselves. It also makes them not look like themselves, when themselves are the beautiful thing'. Male, 21
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'We should learn to love the way we are'
Does the video have a positive effect on how they feel about their natural appearance? Or is it just another way to cash in and gain consumer loyalty?
For many, the video wasn’t just delivering a relevant message, it also impacted the way they felt about themselves and their natural looks.
'We should not feel pressure from social media we should learn to love the way we are' Female, 32
'Our self image shouldn’t be attached to a like button' Male, 29
There have been very few negative comments, including those who believe that by touching on a highly pressing emotional topic, Unilever is simply trying to cash in.
I think they are just trying to cash in on it rather than actually make any positive change. It's a sneaky way to do it, but by playing it like they are being a virtuous and caring company, they are still contributing to it in a reverse way. Male, 31
As for our conclusion, we applaud Dove for bringing attention to a very delicate and important issue in our society. There is a high positive response to the use of natural beauty standards in advertising and the use of a strong emotional message to encourage young women to feel beautiful the way they are.
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