In a world that is constantly shoving the idea of a woman only being beautiful if she looks like Kate Upton or Kate Hudson or … well, whoever the latest aesthetic ideal is, it can be hard for a preteen girl to figure out how to own the fact that she’s beautiful, too, no matter how different her body is from the supermodel du jour.
Along with most of American society, Unilever’s Dove soap has girls becoming more anxious, instead of more confident. And rather than prey on that lack of confidence by offering beauty "solutions" and use that info to their marketing advantage, Dove is actually trying to get at the root of the problem and boost girls' confidence and self-esteem.
For three years, Dove has been hosting events for preteen girls across the globe to help them feel better about themselves, according to Cincinatti.com. The aim is to reach 15 million young women globally by 2015, thanks to Dove's Self-Esteem Fund, with an empowering message that takes the brand's highly praised Real Beauty campaign to a critical age.
“When we started talking about this, it was because we realized the beauty industry was affecting young women negatively, and we felt it was our obligation as a beauty brand to offer support and help sort out what was going on,” said Rob Candelino, Unilever’s US VP of marketing, to the site. “We thought if we can intervene with a positive message of support and love, we can transform a girl’s view of herself in the world and help unlock her potential.”
These efforts, of course, are also reflected in Dove’s Facebook page, which has close to 11 million “likes,” and on the Dove US website, which trumpets its Real Beauty social mission and asks visitors to “imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.”
According to Cincinnati.com, Kroger employees also helped out at the event in Ohio, a fact that could help deepen the brand connection to the 100 girls who attended the event. “Whenever you can have this triad of the retailer, brand and consumer making connections, everybody wins,” Phil Lempert, a grocery and retail analyst told the site. “There is always going to be someone who can produce a better product, but having a solid relationship between a brand and a retailer is more important than anything else when it comes to satisfying consumers’ needs.”
Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty hasn't been entirely blemish-free. A NYC casting call for curvy "real women" with beautiful skin and hair raised a ruckus, even as the soap brand claimed a rogue casting agent for the language, while the specter of Photoshopping has reared its ugly head. But it's hard to argue with a campaign that aims to make young women proud, confident and feeling beautiful in their own, un-Photoshopped skin.