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Dove Real Beauty Campaign :: Super Bowl Ad Reach on a Dime

As we continue to discuss viral videos in class, here are a few more examples of success for you to consider. Let us remember, although they spent more than a dime – to be sure – the cost was likely not equal to the production and ad expenditures for a traditional advertising campaign.

Kevin Dugan, of Strategic Public Relations, directs us to the latest news about dove evolution from Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto.

…viral video offers new opportunities, but how do we gauge results and acheive results for those with miniscule budgets…

Two Advertising Age articles show how viral videos brought the ad reach equivilent to a Super Bowl advertisement to Unilever/Dove for a fraction of the dollars. It also likely generated more, and for a longer duration, word-of-mouth buzz for the products. Add to that the personal and emotional appeal of the videos and we begin to see how viral can work wonders. Can it work for everyone? No, not likely. But, as with all strategies and tactics, sometimes they work like a charm.

First up is Jack Neff with Better ROI From YouTube Video Than Super Bowl Spot, Dove’s Viral Hit ‘Evolution’ Is a Real Beauty.

With not a penny of paid media and in less than a month, “Dove Evolution,” a 75-second viral film created by Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto, for the Unilever brand has reaped more than 1.7 million views on YouTube and has gotten significant play on TV talk shows “Ellen” and “The View” as well as on “Entertainment Tonight.” It’s also brought the biggest-ever traffic spike to CampaignForRealBeauty.com, three times more than Dove’s Super Bowl ad and resulting publicity last year, according to Alexa.com.

Next up is Bob Garfield’s review of the spot: Tackling Ugly Truth, Dove Effort Evolves Beautifully, New Spot Punctures Our Anorexic, Breast-implanted, Tricked-up Barbie Doll Fantasies.

This Dove ethic corresponded so nicely with the lessons of inner beauty our parents always taught us, and with what sounds morally right, that it resonated far and wide. Never mind that it conflicts with all of our actual experience from the time we enter kindergarten. We all wish for it to be so, and so we credited Unilever with taking a stand.

At which point, the Dove Campaign for Wishful Thinking began evolving into something truly special.

Watch the videos: Dove Evolution and Dove Film. The first is a morphing-style video that shows a young woman transformed into a cover girl beauty through makeup, hair extensions, and the wizardry of Photoshop. The second is of younger girls expressing their frustration with body image in middle and high school. Pretty powerful stuff, really.

Combined, just the videos from Oglivy’s Tim Piper alone equal 1,212,750 views to-date. Add to that the views of the 100K+ related videos (consumer generated, for the most part) and you see the ground swell of attention. When I click on “Related” videos (sorted for “Relevance”) and just count the views for non-Tim Piper videos, the count is around 300,000 – on just the first page of results. That’s pretty impressive. Understatement.

Finally, we should not forget that this campaign had many agencies working on it with a variety of tactics and strategies. It brought Edelman and Dove/Unilever a Silver Anvil award in 2006.

Now, let us go in search of those videos that work successfully for a smaller organization with a miniscule budget. Face it, although the Dove campaign cost much less than a Super Bowl ad, their budget is still way out of reach for small organizations – particularly nonprofits. So, can we find them? Are they out there? Look around and report back.



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