Jul 15, 2005

Dove addresses 'real' beauty issues in Asia

Dove is bringing its 'Campaign for real beauty' to Asia, on the back of major region-wide research that reveals a strong desire for a broader definition of beauty among Asian women.

Dove addresses 'real' beauty issues in Asia
After launching the initiative -- which features 'real' women in its advertisements -- across US, Europe and Latin America over the last 10 months, the Asian leg of the campaign will focus on beauty issues that are of more relevance to Asian women, such as single eyelids and hair length.

Ogilvy & Mather has again been charged with handling marcomms, while Research International conducted the research behind 'The real truth about Asian beauty' report. According to Unilever regional marketing manager for Dove skincare Angela Chen, the aim is to provide a forum for Asian women to debate beauty, rather than push a particular product or brand.

"It is providing a vehicle for people to find a different way to look at beauty," explained Chen of the campaign, which began in Taiwan and had also launched in Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia at press time. Other markets will include Japan, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea and Hong Kong.

According to the accompanying study, which polled 2,100 women in 10 regional markets, 80 per cent of respondents agreed that beauty standards set by the media are unrealistic, with 77 per cent wishing that the media could "give women more confidence in their own looks". Chen also pointed to self-esteem issues in specific markets, noting that in Japan, over 70 per cent of respondents do not remember the last time they felt beautiful. In Vietnam, meanwhile, only six per cent of women saw their own opinion as counting the most in being beautiful, compared to 34 per cent in China.

"In general, the results are surprisingly consistent (with the West)," said Chen. "What surprised me was the divergence from country to country, (especially) the low self-esteem of Japanese women and how Asian women perceive themselves as being overweight."

Chen also noted that the study should serve as a rebuttal to the stereotypical view of Asian women as being submissive, which had led some to question whether such a campaign could succeed in the region. "I actually think they are more ready than we think they are -- they are fed up with what they see being portrayed in the media," said Chen.

Ads feature six 'real' Asian women, selected after streetcasting in several countries, along with a 'tick box' that highlights the relevant beauty issue, which includes freckles, single eyelids, long hair, grey hair and plus sizes. Each ad directs consumers to a dedicated website, featuring online polls, discussion forums and research downloads.

An accompanying product campaign for Dove Firming Cream Shower has also rolled out in Singapore, featuring six 'real women' that were selected out of 1,000 applicants.
Campaign Asia

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