Dove

Shattering beauty stereotypes with Project #ShowUs.

Social Purpose • Global 360 Campaign • Brand Strategy

How can a brand truly change a systemic issue that impacts women worldwide?

Background

Dove believes that beauty should be a source of confidence for women — inclusive of all female-identifying and non-binary individuals. Yet 70% of women worldwide say they still don’t feel represented in the images they see every day. Many images in advertising and media continue to impose unrealistic beauty standards, presenting a narrow view of who women should be. Every day, women’s lives are affected by these limitations, exclusions and stereotypes. It affects their health, relationships and opportunities. Simply put – you can’t be what you can’t see.

Strategy

Many images in advertising and media continue to impose unrealistic beauty standards, presenting a narrow view of who women should be. Simply put, our insight was - you can’t be what you can’t see.

While oppressive beauty stereotypes affect women everywhere, the nuances of who and how they limit vary based on local values. Therefore, we combined quantitative desk research, census bureau data, local Getty image licensing trends, and qualitative interviews with women in our 39 markets to identify the ways in which they were most marginalized in media & advertising in their country. And to ensure authenticity, we let the women shine a spotlight on the issue in their own words, co-authoring every word of every campaign asset worldwide. This was further reflected in the search words that each of the women tagged their images with.

Project #ShowUs aimed to achieve systemic change by dismantling the pervasive stereotypes that are deeply embedded in every culture.

Jennifer Berry
Northeast GM • Razorfish

Journey

We facilitated a partnership between Dove, Getty Images and Girlgaze to create Project #ShowUs – the world’s largest stock photo library created entirely by female-identifying and non-binary individuals – in order to shatter beauty stereotypes. The collection includes over 10,000 photographs from 39 countries (and counting!), depicting women exactly as they are, not as others believe they should be. No digital distortion, no false narratives, no apologies. Every tag of every photograph is personally written by the photo subject themselves, so they can be defined on their own terms.

We started by combining quantitative desk research, census bureau data, local Getty image licensing trends, and qualitative interviews with women in 39 countries to identify the ways in which they were most marginalized in media & advertising in their country. Then we drove mass awareness and participation for Project #ShowUs by launching a global, integrated, 360 campaign that was adapted to the cultural nuances of 39 countries. The campaign included TV and digital video assets, OOH, Social Media, Print, PR, Influencer marketing, in-store activations.

We were determined to not only reach our audience where they were, but also on channels and platforms where the stereotypes of how women ‘should look’ run most rampant, such as lifestyle and fitness magazines, women’s talk shows, and billboards fashion districts. Furthermore, we leveraged media partnerships with leading global publications like Stylist, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, People, Elle, O, and Bazaar to explore the problem of representation in a deeper editorial format.

We all have a responsibility to fit our creative ideas around how people see themselves, as opposed to fitting people around how our ideas imagine them to be.

John Antoniello
Creative Lead • Razorfish

Outcomes

Project #ShowUs continues to create global systemic change and encourage a more diverse, inclusive and authentic representation of beauty. The global campaign for Dove has led to significant increase in brand health, including best-in-class results for YouTube and Facebook, and shattering benchmarks for engagement and UGC content.

  • 2500+ companies & publications are using the images including Apple, AirBnb, and Adidas
  • 80% of Project #ShowUs photo collection downloaded in over 60 countries
  • 73% of women in key markets believe Project #ShowUs inspires them to feel more positive about their appearance

With Project #ShowUs, Dove has shifted to taking global, systemic and sustainable action that extends far beyond advertising alone.

Sophie van Ettinger
Marketing Vice President • Unilever

Project #ShowUs has earned 39 accolades from 13 international award shows, including:

  • Cannes Lions
    Glass Lion For Social Change (Silver)
  • Global Effie Awards
    Positive Change: Social Good
  • Jay Chiat Awards
    Global Strategy (Silver)
  • Shorty Social Good Awards
    4x Golds including Integrated Campaign and Diversity & Inclusion
  • The Drum Awards
    5x Category Winners including Best Content Marketing Campaign and Most Innovative Use of Content

What are people saying?

  • This campaign has been the best thing to ever happen in my life.

    @monishaatpd
    Project #ShowUs participant • India
  • One of the reasons I became a part of Project #ShowUs is because I hope to encourage more people to move away from seeing others as one singular thing and making assumptions about them as a result.

    @lucianatwinmama
    Project #ShowUs participant • USA
  • I love everything about your campaign, [it’s] so important for children and teens like myself 🙌💓

    @moniquemastrobattista

See more of our work.

How can we help?

Work with us