Stacy’s Propaganda Campaign Analysis


Dove Real Beauty campaign; Evolution.

Ideology and Purpose

We live in such a socially constructed society where body shaming is currently taking a rise, where beauty is clearly being manipulated and hidden behind all those big – branded make-up. And also where body goals are Gigi Hadid and Kendal Jenner, where if we don’t have those kinds of bodies we are considered “fat and ugly”. So therefore, Dove has officially intervened, broken and confronted those constructions and stereotypes, they have made successful campaigns over the years to challenge those hideous stereotypes and injected the real ideal behind “beauty”. Dove is a personal brand that is owned by Unilever, a British multinational consumer goods company – it originated in the United Kingdom. Dove products are currently manufactured in more than 80 countries and continue to pave their way across Asian and African countries, their products are offered to both men and women across the world, but their major audience are women. With that being said, Dove ventured into making a campaign called “Evolution”, which was a short film about a plain woman wrapped in her natural self – who evolves into a model for advertising purposes. It opens up with a woman sitting in front of a mirror while a make up artiste touches up her face with make-up, and re-arranges her hair with pins. After the pictures were taken the editors touched up her pictures with immense Photoshop – they lengthened her neck, cleared her rough skin and reshaped her facial structures. The ideal of the campaign is to encourage women to accept, appreciate and love themselves, nevertheless of what society thinks, which counterattacks what the media portrays – Feminist and media analysis . The ideal behind this marketing campaign was to educate and inspire women on a wider definition of beauty and to make them feel more confident about themselves, while expressing themselves profoundly without the stigma of society’s perception.

Context of the Propaganda

There was definitely a Positive prevailing mood towards the campaign – as it faced a public and social  issue that impacted society (women) everyday, hence the creation of their solid strategy being used. They used the prominent modes of persuasion to tap into their audience , For instance, They leveraged with today’s millennium and era, and tried to locate an uprising issue they felt they could solve or voice out, in order to induce more involvement, so they chose; Beauty and women as their target point. They also weighed their target audience – women, and decided on beauty as a cautious and critical topic, yet approachable and determining. When they had their topic figured out, they had to think of platforms in order to convey their message and voice, so they chose a film – one that would explore the issue and also tap into their audience’s emotions, so they applied a mode of persuasion: pathos, which  is one of the fundamental and prominent methods of attaining attention, reactions and inducing audience involvement. There is also a struggle of power between Dove and other beauty and health companies, such as; Avon. Avon is a company that focuses on make-up and jewelries, without  efforts of promoting women confidence and growth (they are just for the materials, rather than the character of their audience), while Dove’s focal point is on their audience’s aspirations and happiness – hence making them a more interpersonal company. I think if other companies become more focused on their audience’s ideals, believes and growth then this struggle of power would be non-existent.

To respond to the question, what is at stake? I would say their audience is at stake. Dove’s audience has helped progress the company into what it is today, they have gained the company competence, credibility and sufficiency in the market. The campaign has earned the company a  profit maximization from a 3.9% to a 5.8% from the previous year, making it the highest sale increase the company had ever experienced (According to the International world market). They have acquired a larger demographics and census of audience, making them more of an internationally known and competent company. With such credibility and competence, the Evolution campaign they created  has paved way  in the marketing industries which has resulted in winning two awards at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. It gained many discussions on mainstream television programs and print publications, which generated an estimate of 150 million dollars for the spot (according to the Dove official website). Now, with all their achievements, dove utilizes their power on breaking the issues of body shaming and stereotypes.


What has resonated this issue, you may ask!. It is mostly the ideals and perception  held socially of women and how their bodies should look. The media is a channel used to portray these views – in every chick flick movie, or young adult movie, there are a couple of hot girls with bikinis on, promoting their perfect body with confidence. For example; spring break, which features four young and sexy girls (socially accepted as the ideal kind of female body),who go an adventure to experience youth and freedom, in the movie their confidence is depicted from their appearances (bikinis, tan lines and wet disheveled hair, society’s idea of beautiful and sexy). “With such movies, women are faced with expectations they have to live up to, so the “fat and undesirable”  women continue to hide behind these conceptions, while suffering  disappointment and fear”, said Jenifer Goa, Dove’s beauty analyst.

Identification of the Propagandist

Unilever is the propagandist of this campaign, they  aim at as a supportive and counselling system that are emotionally, mentally and physically there for their target audience; women. They have continued to use this concept in acquiring a larger audience an growing an outreach, which they have achieved over the years. Dove believes and stands for women empowerment, women confidence and growth, and they use their company to promote these believes. Which is exactly why women  continue t0 follow them in their journey – as they see them as a listening ear, their standing rock and a united voice to speak to the world on their struggles and sufferings of denied comfort in themselves.


The company has set a foundation for women, a place for them to turn to and learn about the beautiful things society keeps ripping off them, as they watch. Unilever has succeeded in promoting not only the physical beauty of women but also highlighted the importance of self-perception, hence their prominent campaign “sketch campaign”. A campaign that unveils women’s views of how they see them selves, physically and personality-wise. “This sub-campaign was a hit as it hit the needle right in the head, showing us just how strong our views can affect us, no matter how strong or weak we are” (Beatrice, Gimbert, a cosmetologist currently collaborating with Dove).

Structure of the Propaganda Organization


Back in the early 2000 Dove started up as a plain health and beauty company with little or no  publicity or acknowledgement, but in 2004 they got their breaking light, when they decided to upgrade themselves to a certain point where other beauty and health companies wouldn’t be able to reach. They started such ambitious task by delving into the Real beauty campaign, which is a broad campaign consisting of sub-campaigns such as “Mother and daughter campaign”. A campaign that channeled more publicity and increased their audience (even going further to acquiring an international audience). The mother and daughter campaign was about Mother’s self-proclamation and perception and how it affects their daughters, so if mother’s think they are fat, daughters are likely to think the same – going against the parent rule of “don’t do as I do but as I say”. With this campaign being a huge success, women out in the world saw it as a chance and a motivation to change their views of themselves in order to remain a role model to their daughters. Women used this campaign as a second chance to being a better mother and proving society wrong on beauty standards and internalization – let’s just say , they realized just how flawlessly beautiful they are indeed.

Target Audience


Dove’s target audience is obviously females around the world, mothers, daughters, sisters, Aunties, Grandmas and girlfriends – so on a general term; women. According to Forbes, “Dove is a company that has reached an incredible outreach of women all over the world, making them one of the most prominently known company in the world”. They have an outstanding international audience and they have the “chose beautiful campaign” to thank for. It was a campaign shot in five different cities; San Francisco, Shanghai, London, Delhi and Sao Paul – it was to explore how different cultures influence the choices women make about their beauty and encourage them to always make positive ones. According to Jessica Raven, “We wanted to show them that everyday, wherever they were, they had the power to wake up and make the choice to feel beautiful”.

Media Utilization Techniques

They utilized the media appropriately, using video to portray their messages – on YouTube, with the Dove’s Evolution Campaign, while still using  television commercials, radio commercial, print media, social media and billboards explore their outreach to . They knew that since their audience was large and worldwide, they had to use every possible media space present to reach out. I think it was a smart idea, as they fulfilled this goal on a long run. I believe that the Evolution video was their best idea, as it conveyed Non-verbal communication such as “being uncomfortable with their natural self, being sad to the reality of social views and judgements, and not having a voice to scream their frustration away”. which was all captured in the video. The video showed the model who didn’t seem so happy (facial expression), seated on a chair while all the hassle of making her look pretty continued in the background, she stared into the camera with neutral emotions; like she was inwardly pleading for a chance to state her opinion or concerns. It just shows how far beauty standards has impacted women today and how much sufferings they face in a day to day instances. This falls into the cognitive consistency that Chapter 4 of the Persuasion and Propaganda – that describes it as an agreed  primate idea of something  and new information about it. So women have positive primate notions about their own body and beauty standards but then society is feeding them new negative information about themselves, and they have internalized such feeds, hence making it a social issue today – one Dove has and continues to fight along the way.

Special Techniques to maximize effects


Dove is such a prominent company that has earned their publicity through various strategies and techniques, techniques such as the hashtag promo. The promo was influenced as a way to indulge more audience participation, so they made it a trend that could bring women together to share their little secrets and endeavors. Just like the hashtag above, they have “hashtagilovemyhair, hashtagichosebeautiful, hashtagdoveismymojo,etc. Using all these hashtags was quite brilliant as women’s reaction to it was phenomenal, they started trending it on twitter and Facebook, and celebrities such as Michelle Lea joined in on the promo, which made it a much bigger success. With this technique, they were able to get across to an even bigger audience, teenagers, and young youths – because of course, which millennium doesn’t like a hashtag.

Audience Reaction to various Techniques 

The reactions from this campaign was rather split into two halves – one was personal acceptance and the other was business criticism. So as much as women and everyone (interested in Dove) was happy and accepting of the campaign, praising the change and positive impact it has had in society, others weren’t so excited about being beautiful. Lots of business organizations and critics vented on how manipulative Dove was, by picking at people’s emotions and using it for their own profit gain. According to Business Insider, “Advertising companies are tagging it as sexist, hypocritical and sneaky”  – they view it as an invalid approach to making profit maximization, placing the acclaimed issue “beauty” as a thing of the pas and not valid enough to be a social issue.



fashion Magazines are a huge deal in today’s era, when we go to grab a drink at Kmart or a gas station, we end up grabbing the latest cover of the Intimate magazine, where we start feeling guilty right away – after seeing how socially “sexy” the lady who made front page is and guilt of the chocolate bar eaten a few minutes ago creeps in. Magazines like this is the soul reason as to why women face challenges in accepting their thick and “fat” bodies, with such magazines standing as a manual, women will on the side bar, continue to face challenges.


We can’t skip the most prominent counterpropaganda of all times – Victoria secret and their angels. Victoria secret is a fashion brand that promotes the socially accepted ideal of “sexy, skinny women”, they promote the idea that women should be skinny and diet often to maintain a minimum weight, in order to remain beautiful and sexy. They are a brand that explore women as sexual object needed to be dominated and desired, they believe in the concept of beauty as only a physic attribute rather than emotional and personal. With brands like Victoria secret women continue to face issues of body shamming and lack of confidence in their individuality – making Dove’s job a little bit more difficult to achieve.

Effects and Evaluation 

The campaign has redefined and reshaped the ideologies of beauty and self-acceptance, women have started seeing themselves in a new light, even while the counterpropaganda above continue to distort those views. With such growth, dove has brought families and friends together, not only women but also men as well; a short parody made by Simon Willows, approaches a male experience on beauty standards as well. The teenage boy featured in the film was without make up, rather he held alcohol,a cigarette and had tattoos photo shopped all around his body . Simon addresses that these add-on’ was seen as “ugly and undesirable” , he says his slogan “Thank God the perception of reality is distorted, no one wants to look at ugly people”, was a direct idea of what beauty standard is today.

“God save us all”


















Chapter 4 Propaganda and persuasion examining







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