Digital Viral Marketing Academy

Digital training workshops for your team

Exercise: Dove - new models for advertising

Since 2000, the Dove brand has been an online pioneer. Their work with the IAB and MSN in North America created landmark research in optimising the media budgets in a campaign between the web and TV. In 2007 their integrated marketing work in the "Campaign for real beauty" saw the brand repositioned as it triggered a massive wave of discussion and debate about what beauty is all about. Dove's ownership of the space, and the extensive reach of their viral messaging, is a great model for other brands to consider. This video clip was at the heart of the effort and it is an excellent example of how the web could be used by a consumer brand to build community, debate and discussion. It’s also creating challenges for regulators who are considering how online advertising works.

Watch also Dove Evolution Parody 1 | Dove Evolution Parody 2

Exercise for academy participants:

  1. Watch the video: Would you forward this if you were the target market?
  2. Consider the context: What's the model for their marketing strategy?
  3. Consider the implications: Are they saving on the media budget? Are they extending the reach of their messaging?
  4. Reflect on whether some of these ideas could be harnessed in your business. You can post some of your comments, observations and reflections below.

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As for the results? Over 8m views and counting. But what made the campaign so incredibly powerful is the amplification. This was not just talked about online, but trickled quickly out into the blogs and wider press. It was a truly integrated campaign with many strands working to support a brand truth of Dove that built empathy and recognition among their customers. The marketing message gained talkability, and fed into a much wider marketing engine. If the complement to a strong viral campaign is a spoof, then the spoofs that followed Dove, such as the ‘slob evolution’ viral created in the UK, actually enhance the discussion. As to whether the model in the original ‘Evolution’ film was the art director’s partner, and enjoyed unexpected celebrity status within weeks? That’s part of the backstory we couldn’t comment on ;-)

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