Feeling beautiful

Dove’s mission is to make every woman in the world feel beautiful, but a study by Dove and the London School of Economics revealed only 4% of women describe themselves this way.

A major barrier to feeling beautiful, is negative banner ads that target women’s insecurities - targeted against mentions of their weight in a comment on social channels, recently changing a relationship status, posting about going on a beach holiday amongst many other things.

Put a smile on a face

The idea was to displace the negative ads targeted at women's insecurities, with ones designed to make women feel good about themselves instead.

Doing this requires assessing the ad marketplace and creating assumptions on targeting being used for negative ads, and utilising this to go up against them.

Give the audience the choice

Rather than following traditional methods of the brand deciding on what the user should see we put the power of displacing negative advertising directly in the hands of women.

Through a Facebook app, they could decide what messages were displayed, what audience would be best to see them and needed ads displacing most for women in their country, artwork colour, and their name was included in each ad.

Ads were created instantly and immediately placed to work, in doing so women directly controlled the media spend of a global company on-Facebook in a way that has never been seen before.

LOVE LOVE LOVE. Congrats @unilever @dove @ogilvyny @ogilvy @ogilvyww on the Dove Ad Makeover: http://ow.ly/as4FS Women, DO THIS NOW.

* This work was really done by Ogilvy UK, but won't hold that against Cindy

Almost immediately talk from both consumers and the industry blew up across Twitter and Facebook. In the industry there was a wide range of praise, and also debate and conversation as people couldn't quite work out how we could confidently displace targeted.

While consumers didn't care about that, but spoke loudly about the effects of negative advertising, and even came to requesting the campaign be ran in their market.

I love the @dove Facebook Ad Makeover app - what would it take to get this in the US? http://bit.ly/IaOiuN

What happened following this?

Users displaced 171 million banners with negative messages to reach 5.5 million unique women. Over 50% of the women who visited the app created a message, and 82% of the ads seen were created by friends of the viewer. Dove’s Facebook mentions increased by 71%, and most importantly, 71% of the women polled said they felt more beautiful after seeing the campaign.

The campaign stood out because it made the paid ads on Facebook a social experience and empowered women to evolve the tone of the social web. For the first time, a brand erased the lines between paid, earned and owned media.

This later went on to be rolled out to 31 countries for world women's day, with all of these numbers only growing further.

My role

Margo Young had the idea of displacing negative adverts - from there I came up with a way of how we could displace the negative adverts on Facebook, and considered and recommended the bidding strategy required, to do so.

This was then followed by overseeing the UX for the project to ensure the experience for the user was as simple as possible, with as much of the complex side of a user creating a live advert in Facebook's system as invisible as possible.
Following this with overseeing design of the application with Trevallyn Hall, to ensure this was translated correctly.

Following this I then brought in Martin Robertson to work alongside me on the development of the application, and the integration with Facebook's Marketplace API, and negotiated access to this closed API.

Between the two of us - along with the front-end, we built the backend integration with Facebook's marketplace API, to place all ads created by users in the marketplace immediately. A bidding mechanism based on the bidding strategy, that was utilised both at original creation, and on a set interval to readjust bids for all creative as required based on the conditions of the marketplace. A system to evaluate the reach of each advert to expand it's targeting once it began to reach saturation point of it's target market. The app was fully localisable, both in the language the user sees, and the connection to unique market relevant ad-accounts, so each market could run the campaign, without having to shift budget from their existing ad accounts to a new one.

The entire project was taken from original through to launch in just 4 weeks, and went on to win an array of awards at Cannes and across other international shows.


A non-exhaustive list of recent awards:

1 x OneShow Interactive
2 x Clio Awards
3 x Cannes Lions
4 x Epica International
1 x D&AD Shortlist