: Dove #ShowUs Russia


Campaign Summary

Dove ran a local campaign in the Russian market in support of its global brand platform which celebrates real women and real beauty. The "#ShowUs" campaign was designed to combat stereotypes of unattainable beauty often portrayed in ads and in media. The brand conducted a photoshoot to capture everyday women and their natural beauty, and those images ran on a large digital billboard in central Moscow. Other elements of the campaign included a manifest video created by a Russian singer, a Change.org petition to change laws regarding retouched images in media, and a call to the media industry to change how women are portrayed.


Objective and Context:

According to Dove Global research, 70 percent of women don't feel represented in media and advertising. That's why Dove decided to take action to shatter beauty stereotypes found in the media industry.

The global brand worked with Getty Images and Girlgaze to celebrate non-stereotypical female beauty across the world. Within the local Russian market, the initiative would amplify the global brand goal. It would increase brand love, brand awareness, and competitive product differentiation. The campaign "#ShowUs" rolled out in 2019.

For the first time in Russai, Dove decided to put brand support behind a social campaign in a country where beauty perception is a very sensitive issue. Russian beauty standards put a lot of pressure on women. In this part of the world, women are expected to succeed in their careers, care for their families, and at the same time they must look good, even if they are taking out the garbage. The brand put a local twist on the global #ShowUs platform, so that it would resonate with Russian women.

Target Audience:

The #ShowUs campaign targeted women 20 to 65 years old. The audience was divided into four sub-segments.

  • Parents and teachers interacting with girls
  • Women more likely to be affected by media stereotypes
  • Women activists and those who are not indifferent to social issues
  • Non-conformist women who do not want to comply with social norms or rules

Dove also sought to influence change within the media industry, so its second focus was people in the media and advertising industry.

Creative Strategy:

According to Global Edelman Intelligence research conducted for Dove, 61 percent of Russian women don't feel represented by everyday media images, with 71 percent wishing media and advertisers did a better job of portraying women of diverse appearances including age, race, shape, and size.

To help get the message across, Dove worked with a famous opinion leader, Manizha, an independent singer who stands for natural beauty. This quality sets her apart from other Russian singers. Manizha created a rebellious and honest manifest video in which every woman could recognize herself.


Overall Campaign Execution:

#ShowUs leveraged multiple media channels.

  • To inspire Russian women to break free from beauty stereotypes Dove announced large-scale photoshoot for everyday women. There were no professional models and no photoshop was used to touch up the images. This photoshoot generated more than 600 photos of real women, and Dove displayed the images on the biggest digital outdoor ad located in the center of Moscow.
  • To target the industry, Dove wrote an open letter and published it in glossy magazines telling about the #ShowUs photo library. The letter called upon mass media and advertisers to use images of real women in their projects.
  • Dove got industry’s support with the first Glamour magazine cover ran without digital distortion. The issue also featured extra content and digital resources that aligned with #ShowUs, including an editor’s story on how to love yourself.
  • To further demonstrate real female beauty in its diversity, Dove organized a photo exhibition at the Multi-Media Moscow Art Museum. The exhibit showed the beauty of real women with different appearances. Additionally, together with celebrity ambassador Manizha, Dove presented a manifest video celebrating the beauty of every woman and called women to join Dove in changing the world. The project overview was published in Metro newspaper and appeared in TV news segments.
  • To make the changes real, Dove organized a petition on Change.org calling for changing the law on advertising and the introduction of labeling for retouched photos. The petition was supported via display, a content partnership with online magazine Wonderzine, and bloggers. Thousands of women signed the petition and actively shared it online. Following the initiative, Dove and Unilever introduced the use of marks for retouched photos and photos without digital distortion in creative materials to start the change.

Mobile Execution:

Mobile was an inherent part of the campaign. Social was the key to communicating with the broad target audience. Social media was used to announce the project, invite people to the photoshoot and exhibition, sign the petition, and promote Manizha's manifest. In Russia, Instagram is much more popular than Facebook, so Dove collaborated with opinion leaders on Instagram to bring attention to the project. The manifest video was launched on YouTube, as well.

Even offline media was powered by social. The digital outdoor display ad showcased hundreds of Russian women in the center of Moscow, and photoshoot participants actively shared their images or their loved ones shared their images on social media.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Dove is known on the market as a premium mass market brand. In most countries where Dove is present, its competitive advantage is strongly based on its social mission and its image of a brand that goes against beauty industry stereotypes.

Google brand lift results:

  • A 13.4 percent lift in Ad Recall; the core part of the audience (women 25-34) appeared to be the most responsive audience with a 25 percent lift.
  • An increase of 532 percent in brand interest.

Overall campaign results:

  • A 60 percent increase in site traffic
  • Positive reaction to the campaign from women resulting in thousands of comments on social networks, and more than 4,000 Instagram posts

Dove’s #ShowUs campaign has shown that brands can successfully promote burning social issues while achieving growth in brand metrics. This initiative proved that purpose-driven campaigns can make a real impact on the brand and market. With this initiative, Dove managed to strongly promote a global idea while touching deeply on local insights and helping millions of women in Russia feel released from the pressure and burden of beauty.

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