Dove wanted to confront media sexism when it came to women's sporting events. It used machine learning to identify sexist media quotes in real time and broadcast the results on live billboards across the country. The company encouraged consumers to post the comments on social media to bring attention to the issue. The "Dear Media" campaign generated more than 40,000 tweets and turned #MyBeautyMySay into a globally trending movement.
Objective and Context:
20 years ago, Dove’s Real Beauty campaign empowered women to love the way they look. But in a US market where feminism has reached a cultural tipping point, brands in every category are trying to capture women’s attention with messages of empowerment. Dove’s objective was to increase brand relevance by reestablishing itself as the leader in beauty and body empowerment conversations.
Recognizing the changing needs of the U.S. cultural and consumer landscape, the company knew it had to do more than just put a message in-market. It needed to give women a way to collectively combat the beauty and body judgments that negatively impact their confidence.
Dove’s target audience was all women ages 18 and over in the U.S. market.
Dove wanted to take on sexist media commentary and change the story for female athletes and the countless women and girls exposed to beauty standards every day. Success for the campaign was measured not just by impressions, but by the number of actions taken by real people to create change.
Dove decided to go beyond outwardly confronting media sexism with direct, powerful action. It gave everyone the power to use their social feeds to call out media outlets whenever they made distracting, destructive, and disgusting comments about female athletes.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Dove created a machine learning algorithm that identified sexist quotes about female athletes in real time. The company connected the algorithm to thousands of English-language media from around the world, including digital, print, and broadcast outlets. As soon as an offensive comment was made, Dove distributed it across an integrated digital ecosystem, including social media, out-of-home ads, website, and digital media. To unify its message, the company created a design system in which sexist quotes gradually obscured footage of elite athletes in action. These elements ensured that Dove’s campaign and viewers’ responses would be in real time and as ubiquitous as the media sexism it confronted.
To engage audiences in real time, Dove knew it would have to reach viewers in a timely manner. The company optimized its campaign for mobile social platforms and a fully responsive website.
In years past, Dove has been a leading brand in beauty and body confidence conversations with women. However, with a changing advertising environment, Dove lost its leadership role. Newer and more provocative brands were taking share of voice with relevant messages of empowerment marketed to the same female demographic as Dove.
"Dear Media” not only anticipated the heated conversation about sexist coverage, but led the charge against it. Users generated more than 40,000 tweets and turned #MyBeautyMySay into a globally trending movement that reached an audience of nearly 100 million, surpassing Dove’s engagement benchmark by more than 200 percent. The campaign also gathered 1.87 billion earned media impressions. Global influencer and feminist icon Emma Watson tweeted her love of the campaign. Dove’s Dear Media campaign set a new standard for how people talk about female athletes and showed the world that brands can create change.