Dove is focusing its efforts on challenging beauty standards with a new marketing campaign dubbed Project #ShowUs that launched March 27.
In partnership with Getty Images and digital photography company Girlgaze, Dove has led a 5,000-image initiative on GettyImages.com featuring 179 women from 39 countries. The photographed talent, which include plus-size women, trans women and women with skin conditions like Vitiligo, were shot by 116 female-identifying photographers within the Girlgaze network.
The goal for the collaboration with Getty Images was to grant all companies access to the photographs for their own marketing and social campaigns, said Dove marketing director Amy Stepanian. Dove and parent company Unilever will begin using the inclusive imagery across all its products (on their respective websites) and in campaigns later this year.
“Dove understands the impact that unrealistic images of beauty can have on a women’s body confidence,” said Sophie Galvani, Dove global vp. “We have believed in liberating women from narrow beauty ideals and have showcased beauty diversity in our advertising. However, this is not enough.”
Dove, which is ranked No. 7 in sales in the top beauty and personal-care brands globally, according to market research firm Euromoniter International, is Unilever’s biggest brand. It continues to drive significant growth across its beauty and personal-care category, which saw a more than 3 percent increase in 2018 fiscal results.
Project #ShowUs was driven by internal Unilever research which found that 70 percent of women do not feel represented by everyday images, and that 71 percent wanted brands and media to portray women with diverse physical features, said Stepanian.
Girlgaze CEO Amanda De Cadenet commented that, while inclusivity and diversity are burgeoning trends, most brands are not willing to invest in it. “The people in this campaign are not usually the kind of women that are front and center in commercial projects, but they should be,” she said.
Getty, for its part, brings in 1 million images a month to its platform, and its partnership with Dove marks its most significant ever. “This is the largest collection of images of women by women that we have ever featured,” said Rebecca Swift, Getty Images senior director of creative insights. She said Getty worked with training the Girlgaze photographers to shoot more commercially and also to pair searchable keywords with each image. That has been particularly important for Getty, as more inclusive search terms have been trending: The term “women leaders” is up by over 202 percent year over year, and “diverse women” has grown by 168 percent.
Dove would not detail the financial investment in Project #ShowUs, but Stepanian said it was the brand’s “largest” marketing campaign to date and one that is global in nature. Many beauty and personal-care brands have been aligning their marketing campaigns around social causes as of late, such as Procter & Gamble’s Secret and L’Occitane.
For now, Dove will be using its images on Dove.com and its social channels (on Instagram, the brand has 412,000 followers, and it has 28 million followers on Facebook.). In addition, the images will be featured on Getty’s and Girlgaze’s social platforms. Fans of these accounts will will be prompted with the#ShowUs hashtag to generate additional images for user generated content.
“We want to provide a touch point for these images to be seen and used everywhere,” said Stepanian. “It’s the only way we see change happening.”
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