Real Beauty - Dove and Nike - Inventive Marketing

By this point, you have all seen the Dove Real Beauty Campaign.

The idea of the campaign is simple really; other advertisements for beauty products make women feel ugly! In my opinion, Dove was REALLY smart about this campaign...heck, it worked for me.

Think about it, how many women look like the picture perfect models in advertisements for beauty products?

That’s why these real women, whose measurements are not typical of models.

This campaign covered not only women with a variety of "measurements" but also women with varieties of skin colors, hair types, etc.

Look at this one, featuring the perfection of having freckles.

Or this one, where curly hair is beautiful.

How about this one where you are beautiful at any age?

Who says wrinkles aren't wonderful?

Then there is this one... Oversized and outstanding and gorgeous and gray.

I was living in Chicago when this campaign first made headlines two years ago, and being so busy with work, I wasn't exposed to the tv and magazine ads as much as I was to bus ads and billboards like these below.

If you go to the website, , like I did, you will learn that this billboard below (one I saw in Chicago) is of Julie who is from Bellmore, New York, teaches kindergarten and loves eating pizza.

The website takes you into these womens' lives and why they love who they are. The site is still covering the first campaign as well as the new ones.

Now what about Dove's newest Real Beauty Campaign? Dove has most recently started, and quickly stopped, promoting their Pro-Age line. Six very brave and proud age 50+ gorgeous women did their calendar girl pose in the nude, quickly to discover they can't air because they show too much skin.

Meet Mary, age 64, mother of 4, grandmother of 5, who believes age is only a number and that she has earned all of her wrinkles, and is proud enough to show them to the world.


And this is Diana, mother of 2, works as an alternative therapist and is just growing to love her body and is willing to show the world.

Can you believe it has been banned for nudity?

What do you think about the whole idea of real beauty in advertising?

Nike liked it...they too use "real" women in their promotions.

This reads: My butt is big... And round like the letter C ...And ten thousand lunges... Have made it rounder... But not smaller... And that's just fine. ..It's a space heater ...For my side of the bed.... It's my ambassador ..To those who walk behind me ...It's a border collie ...That herds skinny women... Away from the best deals At clothing sales... My butt is big... And that's just fine... And those who might scorn it...Are invited to kiss it...Just do it.

A couple others from the same campaign.










Well, any thoughts on Dove? What about Nike? What is your overall feelings on not using the expected supermodel in ads?

Amy Gifford
Featured Blogger

Jul 28, 2007
by Gloria Campos
Gloria Campos's picture

Great ads

I love their ads.  I think they're beautiful. Finally real women on tv.Gloria Campos-Hensley

Aug 5, 2007
by Michael (not verified)

Bad ads.

The women in the Dove ads look like all of the dime-a-dozen overweight and all-around plain janes that populate every nook and cranny of our lives. I understand that fat and ugly women want to feel beautiful. But, fact is, they never will be.  No amount of cramming fat chicks down my throat in ads will make me feel different about them either.

Aug 13, 2007
by Anonymous Not Michael (not verified)

Is there a male counterpart to these ads?

If so, I'd like to see them--if only to be able to respond to Michael's "Bad ads" comments.

Oct 30, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

society still has that

society still has that stupid image of "beautiful"; it's not like these ads are going to change how people think of "beauty".

i hate those people seriously shallow enough to call ANYONE ugly, much less these curvacious, wonderful women. [here's looking at you, michael]

i admire dove and nike's attempts, however.

May 14, 2008
by Anonymous

You're an idiot...

You're an idiot...

May 14, 2008
by Anonymous

I'll assume you were talking

I'll assume you were talking to the kid that's all... "They never will be" Cause yeah. Idiot.

May 17, 2008
by Anonymous

Love the ads

Just found this blog, and I will say that I really admire what Dove and Nike are doing. Although as a society we still have a long way to go in changing our perception and image of beauty. If this keeps up mabey top designers will start making clothes in sizes bigger than 4. That would be the best... anyway, I absolutly love the ads and the concept behind them.
And to the as*hole who says that these women are ugly, your a completely immature idiot and your probably suffering form your own body image issues and just jealous because the ads make you feel like crap. Your a jerk and you should grow up.

Jul 28, 2008
by Anonymous

Stop insulting him

He didn't like their opinions. He didn't like their perspectives. He says those woman are ugly. It's his right to. It's one thing to turn to him and say Why? or ok you feel like that but i think you're wrong but don't judge him or insult him because of it. You don't have to be nasty because of what he said. You just have to choose to listen or hear.

Beauty is only skin deep. Personality and maturity is based on more than a comment. If that negative comment accurately reflects you Micheal then I am sorry and hope you can get passed those prejudices enough to find happiness. If not then think about what you say and how it reflects on you next time.

I am beautiful and I am ugly. What I feel about myself differs day to day Micheal and sometimes the difference between looking at myself and smiling or not is a hurtful comment like what you have just said. I have met woman and men who are physically gorgeous who made me feel like my skin was crawling and friends so plain and homely but glow from the inside with who they are that they can wow a room just by being in it and smiling.

I hope someone reads this and realizes sometimes you make people uglier then anything they do or look like.

As for the other comment on the fashion wold, last year models died because of weight problems. Since a minimum weight has started to be instituted for models. This is causing weight gain among them and Hollywood which can already be seen and hopefully the false image will be changed to something more healthy or realistic yes. Not just weight but age, skin, race, ect.

Aug 7, 2008
by Anonymous


I think these women are proud of how they look and that's cool.
Those freckles look fuck-ugly to me but I would normally hold that back.

I don't like society's extreme opinion of beauty;
i.e. Spray tans, too thin, going under the knife etc

Still, I think women that keep in shape are beautiful.
When I see a fat women (obesity etc is NOT a disease) all I see is too many pies, no exercise, lack of self respect and just generally shows that they don't have much willpower.
Work etc can be decent excuses but they should make the smallest effort to put down that pie, pick up an apple. Manage in some exercise.

If people just lived healthy that would be enough, no need to idolise those who starve themselves, cut out fat, strecth their skin etc.

As long as no-one gets pissed of when you dont find fugly people attractive that's cool.

Aug 7, 2008
by Anonymous


It's absolutely ridiculous the calender was banned for nudity.
If it was made clear what the calender contained I can't see why it was banned.

There are far less classy calenders out there that objectify women, it seems like double standards in this case. Not that I'd go near it with a ten foot pole, but it's obvious that it was only for displaying saggy oldness.

Beauty seems to be only skin deep in many cases today. It's truly sad.

Aug 10, 2008
by Anonymous

Love these ads

I adore Nike's "real women" ads. What Dove is doing for women of size, Nike is doing for us muscled athletic girls who always felt just a bit out of the beauty loop created by outrageously skinny, weak, and otherwise submissive looking models. As a girl with broad, muscular shoulders and arms, I felt an immediate kinship with the girl in the ad. My only issue is that the pictures in the ads are all faceless body parts, dehumanizing the women involved to some degree. Some people are saying it's copy-cat advertising, but I think it's just a different take on a similar inspiration. Nike is targeting athletic women who have worked hard to form their bodies into efficient, healthy machines, Dove has a more general message about loving your body, whether or not it's a size 2. I say, don't look a gift advertising trend in the mouth.

Aug 22, 2008
by Anonymous


I am in the Army and I was just browsing Google, to find the Nike Real Women ads my wife was trying to tell me about the day before over the phone. When I came to this page, being the second page I have browsed, I read a few of the posts. When I seent he post by Michael, I felt pity. Not for these woman, but for you Michael.

It is sad to see that these woman, who have probably had to deal with that same type of mind frame, immaturity and negativity for probably most of their lives, and probably are STILL dealing it in their personal lives now. Should have to have someone like you, Michael come out and try and destroy a beautiful thing.

These woman have things that shines brighter than the dull shadow you tried to cast upon them... Some things you most likely lack. One of those things I speak of is "courage". They had the courage to brave themselves to this world despite whatever fears they may have faced, despite the negative ways of people of your nature and despite of what the world itself may have thought.

But most of all, the thing they have which you do not... is Inspiration. They have taken their fears and sat them aside in hopes of inspire others who are like them, to not be afraid of who they are, to not let what the media tells them what is right or wrong, to love themselves no matter what. They have inspired many women across the country to feel comfortable within their own skin.

Yet, it is people like you Michael, who can not stand to see a good thing for what it is, who let their own demons invoke them to do or say the mean things you do, who are not satisfied with their own lives maybe, that they need to bring down others who are making their way up out of the darkness they have normally lived in, back to the lonely hollowness that is most porbably your own.

While it is true that this is America and everyone has the freedom of speech, it takes a human being with a heart and a sound mind to know when it is appropriate to do so. Your words have served no purpose other than to belittle womem who were trying to help this sad world by uplifting a forgotten few. A few who deal with insecurities that are normally birthed by people like you, Michael! Next time, try to be a human with a heart and be a little more considerate in what you do and say!

I'd hate to know how you regard the soldiers of America, who work hard to keep your "FREEDOM OF SPEECH!"

-PFC Smith, Will, Fort Bragg, NC

Oct 1, 2008
by Anonymous

to those judgemental guys...

It's one thing to voice your opinion. It's another thing to call freckles "fugly." Please keep the rudeness to yourself.

I agree that there's a difference between having a different body structure and being fat. I think that overweight people should make better choices. But the world's picture of "fat" and what being fat actually is are two totally separate things.

Back in the day, the normal model size for women was a size 12. Now it is a size 2 or 4. When Marylin Monroe was in her prime, she was a size 10.
My point is that slender can be beautiful, but other body types are just as beautiful. And I think that's what Dove is trying to portray. They're not trying to make everyone feel better about themselves, they're just saying that, even though your body may be built differently (it's actually impossible for most women to be healthy and a size 2. It's not that they don't exercise enough or eat better, it's that they were born that way) you are still perfect.

Different is not synonymous with imperfection.

If you don't like freckles now, I hope that you end up finding beauty in someone who proves you wrong.

Oct 14, 2008
by Anonymous

Ugly people love it, Normal people find it stupid

If you are ugly then yes, this will work for you. If you look good, workout, eat right then this will look just as stupid as it is.

No, not everyone can look like a model nor do I think they should, HOWEVER, this is just another Lazy American view of life. "I can't be model thin! That is unhealthy!" well guess what honey, so is being 10-20lbs overweight.....

Americans (btw I am one) want any excuse to be lazy and here is another example of it. So your fat (overweight, big boned, obese, thyroid problem, etc), sure it's not your fault, it's all those skinny models that parade around in their panties on T.V.!

No one can look like that, it's all fake or you have to starve yourself....both which are untrue.

No one said a man/woman/boy/girl has to be model thin, do people (no matter what country you are from) like beautiful people? OF COURSE, IT'S HUMAN NATURE but I do not see the lines of men that demand their girlfriend/spouse to look like a T.V. commericial model.

It's a joke, since you women are weak minded it's the T.V./Movie's fault, not your own. How many guys are on T.V. have six pack abs, buldging muscles, and weight 150lbs?

How come there isn't a guy "true beauty" commerical?


I spend 5 days a week in the gym because I LIKE BEING IN SHAPE and it's HEALTHY. The overweight/fat/obese/etc girls/women will love this commerical because it shows "true" women.

Guess what? Just because the average Guy/Girl in the U.S. is overweight does NOT make it right, you have health concerns and it can cripple your life....forget about how you look.

Stop using excuses like these commericals to sit around after you get home from work, eat a big meal, turn on the tube and waste away the rest of the night......

Get your fatass in the gym after work, eat healthy and STOP WORRYING ABOUT PEOPLE ON TV/MOVIES!!!!!


~Common Sense

Oct 14, 2008
by Anonymous


To address "to those judgemental guys..."

I agree with you on the freckle thing but you cannot be down on someone for what they like. If I like a girl with freckles great, maybe the next guy doesn' doesn't make him an ass....or "judgmental", everyone has different tastes......

However, I disagree with you on the fat thing....

No one is born "fat", yes, some women are born with big frames and cannot fit into size 10 clothes or whatever but if you have fat on you that prevents you from getting into clothes (or puts you in the obese category) then yes, you are fat.

And you are wrong about "being healthy and a size 2." MOST women can be a size 2 and healthy, it takes work....which is why most are not....(I include guys as well, they don't like working out either).

You are right, every women is BEAUTIFUL to someone.....but if a girl is overweight or has a frame I do not like doesn't make me "judgmental", I like what I like.

I have certain tastes and anyone out there that says they do not (women or men) are liars. We all like something and yes MM was a size 10 when she was a model...which is fine for back then but society's tastes has changed.

Is it influenced by movies/tv? I do not believe so, it has to do with how we are all programmed, in order for us to survive we mated with the most attractive/physically in shape mate. That goes for women too, if a potential mate was sick/overweight or just not healthy it was programmed into us not to mate with that person, for survival.

What people do not want to hear (guys and girls) is that FOR THE MAJORITY being obese is very unattractive and unhealthy.

Drop the weight, it will make you feel better about yourself and it will do WONDERS for your health. Stop being lazy, get out and jog, ride a bike, go to a health club, just get going!

Oct 22, 2008
by Anonymous

=D These ads are very inpirational!

When i saw the comercials on tv it made me really think. I never really Liked my body i was too concerned about what people would think about me because I am 16 years old and I am Surrounded by negative people that Only want to look like the " cool" girl who is too skinny to be real. I am not over weight but im not Skinny either, I play soccer and I am in Dance classes My name is Megan and After looking at these advertisements I am learning that i am BEAUTIFUL in every posible way, If I need to pretend to be make friends and be " cool.." are the people who are my friends really my friend for who i am?

I Have learned that Every one is Beautiful I do Agree with the other comments this is True, If you are Obese then Yes maybe you need to lose weight but you need to realize something, When you are obese you DONT feel beautiful You get picked on and you feel as if you arent loved so some of these comments are hurtful... EVERYONE is beautiful and unique in their own special way, I like to think of life as a wonderful Place even though It isnt it is crule and there is so much hate and war and cruelty... and things happen that isnt fair sometimes like loseing someone you love but i want to live life everyday as surprise and live it to the fullest!

I think there is someone for everyone and even if you are 50 years old or older you still have a chance you need to Express yourself!

Im canadian and i am Big boned Not fat nor Skinny and i am Proud i love my body and i think everyone should!


Thank you for your time

Nov 17, 2008
by Anonymous

real beauty

The very freckled women's name is Leah Sheehan' and I think she's absolutely beautiful.
Her freckles make her stand out and whoever is her husband/boyfriend is a very lucky guy. Freckles rule' the more' better' and thats coming from a fan who has none.

Feb 21, 2009
by Anonymous

real beauty

Dear Dudes;

I'm 5 foot maybe, and a size 0 (or 2, depending on where I shop), under 100 lbs. I'm 50 years old, and still have men buying me drinks. I am neither fat, nor ugly, with very few freckles. Yet, I do not find these ads stupid. I know that not every woman is a size 5, and not every man wants one. It is one thing to say,"I don't find freckles attractive." It is totally another to that they are, "F#&* Ugly"!

Dr. Phil aired a show titled, "What's Wrong With Men", and you have shown us all, at least one glaring example.