Analyzing Dove’s Marketing Strategy And Campaigns

PV Vyshnavi PV Vyshnavi
Feb 4, 2021 11 min read
Analyzing Dove’s Marketing Strategy And Campaigns

Dove is an American personal care brand owned by Unilever, which has gone above and beyond the traditional purpose of selling beauty and body care products to its customers. The company has now become a household name because of successful marketing campaigns that are devoted to women of different ages, sizes and ethnicities. Dove’s products are marketed to help individuals find their internal beauty, something that soap cannot wash away.

Dove has created its own unique brand identity created a wide range of products that stand apart from a large crowd of beauty brands with a unique and effective marketing strategy. The company believes in manufacturing quality products which are cleansing and feminine the characteristics women look for in a product. The goal of the company is to build a positive self-esteem and also to inspire women and young girls to reach their potential. The brand values of Dove are self-love, empowerment and beauty which it achieves by creating campaigns such as the self-esteem project and the Real beauty campaigns.

With the help of these marketing campaigns they have managed build a distinct reputation and set themselves apart from all the competition through the use of campaigns which also creates a brand awareness. According to Dove, the campaigns started a global conversational about the need for a wider definition of beauty after the study proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable.

In the recent years the companies have come up with new ways of marketing and emotive advertising campaigns and dove has used this in its marketing strategy to connect with their brand on a persona level. By introducing campaigns and projects, the company a chance to make a range of powerful videos and images based on a research projects with the aim of making women feel good about themselves. All brands should have a story to tell or convey values in their branding which can be attributed to real life.

A Brief History of Dove
The Target Audience of Dove
Doves Marketing Strategy
These are some of the ways Dove does it:
Some of Dove popular marketing campaigns

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A Brief History of Dove

Dove is a personal care brand from United States of America and belongs to Unilever. The company was invented by an American chemist named Vincent Lamberti. The dove soaps have been the trademark product of Dove which was originally from United Kingdom. Dove manufactures its products in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, South Arica, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Russia and the United States.

It also sells its products to more than 150 countries has a range of products for men, women and babies. Dove's logo is a silhouette profile of the Dove. The company was initially launched in the 1960s and started with products like Dove Bar and Dove Beauty Bar at first. The company gained a lot of attention because its products were extremely different and had a unique claim made by them which was a soap that not only cleanses but also focuses on moisturizing the skin.

The logo of dove
The logo of Dove

In the 1970s however, Dove started extending its product line after it gained a lot of popularity for being the mildest soap that is gentle for skin. Soon enough, the brand products were highly recommended by physicians. The initial marketing years were different as they the advertisements focuses on delivering authentic soaps that unlike other soaps moisturizes skin rather than just washing it, the company then started making advertisements that featured their customers and common women instead of models.

By the 90s, the company had grown $200 million and currently the company is valued at approximately $4.5 billion dollars today. Its products are sold in nearly 150 countries. The company attributed its success towards build a good reputation among women of various countries with their smart and emotional tactics used in its marketing strategies.

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The Target Audience of Dove

The brand has launched many campaigns over the last decade to help educating and changing people’s perceptions on women’s beauty. So Dove’s products try to influence people both physically and emotionally with positive characteristics of being friendly and outgoing. This is why the main target audience of Dove is comprised of 18 to 35 years old women that value natural beauty. This target audience is also highly engaged women who are active on digital and social media.

The target audience also come from middle and upper class and are those that want to take extra care of their bodies. Women also prefer to buy products that have minimal to no chemical effects on their hair or bodies and dove fits that descriptions. Dove achieves tremendous reach towards the target customers via the empathetic marketing strategy. With the help of campaigns dove address the larger issues among different age groups of women and raises the brands position in the buyers eyes.

How dove broke the stereotypes of beauty advertisements

Doves Marketing Strategy

The doves has many pros then cons when it comes to its product line. The pros of dove’s products for women are its primary ingredients that are synthetic surfactants along with palm kernel and other vegetable oil and salts derived from animal fats. While freshness and moisturizing properties are an added advantage of Dove products for women, its venture into Baby Dove has been an excellent marketing strategy.

As one of Unilever’s most iconic brands, Dove needs constant effective marketing campaigns to stay in the beauty industry, which is already highly competitive. Through out of box campaigns and innovative advertisements in their marketing strategies since the 90s, Dove has been able to retain its market position very well.

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These are some of the ways Dove does it:

Interesting and new ways of advertising

Dove has a very unique tactic when it comes to commercials as it does not use tried and tested method of advertising by using well known celebrities and models, dove uses real people or its loyal customers or the commercials. This helped the company to build its own brand image, reach out to its customers and form a connection with its audience.

Dove also use emotion as a main theme in its marketing as they are not forced to buy its products or faced with unrealistic beauty standards. Over the time companies have stated giving importance to people attitudes especially towards consumption pattern of its target audience.

Market products that are healthy for the customers

A main benefit of the dove’s products is that it is healthy and gentle for the skin. Dove offers a wide range of products that are meant to moisturize and not just to clean the skin, but good quality products are not enough as you also need to have good marketing. Dove understands how customers do not relate to unattainable standards being put out on the advertisements these days, which is why the advertisements of dove always has common people embracing their natural beauty and encouraging others to use the products as it improves not just skin but one’s self esteem.

Makes sure it helps women empowerment

The main aim of dove marketing strategy is to promote real beauty among women, represent women of different color, countries, age, etc. This why the company comes up with many marketing campaigns that try to break the beauty stereotypes that are portrayed in the media and to create a more inclusive version of beauty in the media. Dove believes in promoting beauty in its purest form, to show that everyone are beautiful without make or picture perfect bodies. This has become a compelling social mission of Dove to build women’s self-esteem ever since.

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Some of Dove popular marketing campaigns

Dove has managed to create unique and record breaking campaign that has won the hearts of its customers over and over again. The company has able to accomplish its success by investing in thoughtful, emotion driven, empathic and sophisticated marketing strategies. Because of this dove has transformed from making campaigns that were activities based to stunt marketing or large content creation.

The campaigns of dove have always been conventional and thought provoking. The campaigns below continues to reinforce Dove brand positioning while providing more advertisements that the audience can interact and relate with. These are some of Dove’s most notable marketing campaigns that helped the company to stay on the top of the beauty industry for years:

The Dove real beauty campaign
The Dove real beauty campaign 

Choose Beautiful Campaign

Dove started the #ChooseBeautiful Campaign whose main focus was to help women embrace their own natural beauty and unique selves. In order to make a video on this concept, the company reached out to women from five different cities (Shanghai, Delhi, London Sao Paulo and San Francisco) around the world and tried researching on the different cultures and how it influences the choices women made when it came to buying products to their bodies.

In this campaign, a survey was held where it had two signboards depicting “Average” and “Beautiful” put on gateways of shopping centers to see how women of these cities consider themselves. The video clip showed some women confidently entering through “Beautiful” while most others entering through “Average” door.  In the end, the women were interviewed on why they taught they were average, when asked again on whether they would choose beautiful. The women confidently moved through the “Beautiful” door with a smile.

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The Real Beauty Campaign

Dove launched the iconic Real Beauty Campaign in 2004 that aimed to change, educate and inspire women on the actual definition of beauty and to make them feel comfortable in their own skin. The pictures of regular women instead of professional model were put up on billboard advertisements with messages inviting viewers to vote on whether a woman was “Fat or Fab” or “Withered or Wonderful” with the results to be displayed on the billboards.

Another experiment that was part of this campaign was in 2013 where FBI-trained Forensic artist Gil Zamora came for campaign of Dove’s Real Beauty sketches where he made two sketches of each women, one as described by the woman herself and another described by another person. And when he revealed two sketches, it was shown that the one described by another person was happier and fresher, which made the women emotional and conscious about the fact that they were more beautiful than they saw themselves as.

The result of the experiment showcased how more than 80% of the women were not comfortable with their body. The video of this experiment got more than 50 million people viewed the Dove video within 12 days. Sales for Dove jumped from $2.5 to $4 billion within the ten year of its release. The real beauty campaign also won two ad awards to this date which is because it portrayed how women have to deal with unrealistic beauty standards, while addressing the insecurities that women had to face. It brought a higher purpose to the brand and resonated with customers on several levels.

The video for doves real beauty sketches

The Ad Makeover Campaign

Dove created ad makeover campaign with interactive elements so women can change the way advertisements portray beauty. Users can regard negative things about ads such as weight loss or cosmetic surgery with positive messages designed by Dove. Dove went one step further by searching for ads which had words with negative connotations such as Plastic surgery, Holiday, I hate my body, Bikini, Gym, or Diet.

Then Dove gave these ads a makeover by just replaced these words with good and positive ones, so none of the ads with these words can be shown. These advertisements went viral on Facebook as it spread the message of self-love. Over the span of a few years, over 171 million positive banners were displaced and reached 5.5 million unique women users. Over 70% of the women responded that they felt more beautiful through the campaign.

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The #ShowUs Campaign

In the #Showus campaign, Dove partnered with Getty images in 2019 to create the world largest photo library which was to be created by women who wanted to change the stereotypes of beauty and show women on what real beauty was. This campaign features more than 500 images of 179 women from various countries and were also photographed by 116 female and non-binary photographs. This project was the winner at 2019 Cannes Silver Glass: The Lion For Change as it allowed everyone to use the images and join the movement of empowering women.


Dove has managed to remain on the top of the beauty industry by coming up with unique, emotional, empathetic marketing strategies. Through thoughtful campaigns, Dove has managed to make a change by making women feel confident and comfortable in their own skin and has successfully made women around the world feel beautiful in the way they are. By truly understanding and capturing consumer concerns and executing campaigns with distinguished content, unlike other beauty companies Dove is able to maintain a representative for “real beauty” and empower women worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Where can I buy Dove products?

Dove products are sold at many supermarkets and drugstores and can also be brought from online websites.

How are dove beauty products different from companies?

Dove products are different as it also moisturizes the skin then just washing it.

What is the mission of Dove campaigns?

Dove campaign aim in bringing out the self esteem in women, to feel beautiful in their own skin and to break stereotypes.

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