Dove sketches

Brands That I Would Miss: Dove

I distinctly remember the first time I saw the first commercial for the “Real Beauty” sketches campaign from Dove. I was sitting in a coffee shop, perusing Facebook (I mean diligently studying) when I came across a link on my timeline with the caption “This is SO BEAUTIFUL. Kudos to Dove.”

The commercial featured a person sitting in a chair, describing themselves to a sketch artist. They tended to use language that was not flattering, and it was clear they didn’t like describing themselves. After answering a few questions about their appearance, they were then asked to describe the person they sat next to in the waiting room. They used language that was much kinder and complimentary, and it was clear that they saw things in that person that they didn’t see in themselves.

Toward the end of the video, each person sees the sketch that the artist drew when they described themselves compared to the sketch that the artist created when someone else described them. The difference is profound, and in a beautiful way, conveys how everyone has real beauty that they don’t see.

In many ways, this video is my first memory of seeing a brand becoming human. I have seen that video several times, and I am moved to tears almost every time. By paying attention to human emotions, Dove championed a mantra that at first glance seems counter-intuitive for the beauty industry to endorse: embrace natural beauty.

Dove started a movement within the beauty industry. In the last five years, we have seen beauty brands place a priority on featuring real women in promotions and creating products that enhance, rather than replace, natural beauty.

After I watched this video, it became clear to me that Dove (like Patagonia) is practicing an extremely important relationship skill: listening. As I am drawn to people that are excellent listeners, so I am drawn to a brand that I know listens.

Like Target, I would care if Dove disappeared. By taking the time to pause and listen to what their audience is telling them, Dove has established a relationship built on trust and authenticity. Because they have demonstrated that they care about the people they interact with, Dove's absence would be felt if they were no longer a part of society.

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