i can count the number of tv spots that have truly moved me (whether by laughter or by tears) on one hand. they include this one for the olympics, this one for toyota, this one for google, and as of today, the one below, which was created by ogilvy for dove’s longrunning “real beauty” campaign.
i don’t make ads like this – yet. i hope i will someday. campaigns like dove’s ‘real beauty’ are the reason i wanted to work in advertising. they prove that the industry isn’t just about moving product. sure, sales are of utmost importance, but they’re not everything. the best ads awaken something inside you. they make you chortle awkwardly at your desk, or cry while curled up on your couch. they make you devour an entire pack of oreos and search for flights to paris. they make you believe in others. they make you believe in yourself. like great books and great movies, great ads capture the human condition.
these dove ads do just that. they play off the idea that women are constantly doubting their own beauty – that we don’t see just how wonderful we are. sadly, i find this to be the case with most women i know, myself included. i am at all times my worst critic, and i scrutinize my looks more than i’d like to admit. i consider all of my close girlfriends to be the perfect manifestation of the female form. while different, they are all insanely gorgeous in their own ways, personality included. and yet, each of them has had her moment where she felt she wasn’t good enough. she wasn’t tall enough, wasn’t thin enough. her hair didn’t curl, her hair didn’t straighten. the hair above her lip was too noticeable. her eyebrows weren’t thick enough. if only she were blonde. if only she were brunette.
what amazes me about these dove spots is just how poorly we see ourselves – and how different that image is from what others see. while i’d love to be as dismissive of looks as to say they don’t matter, i know that for most of us, they do – sometimes very much. these spots serve as a reminder that could we only see what everyone else sees, we’d know we were as beautiful as can be. and that, ladies, is something we could stand to remember.