Despite Social Media Backlash, Dove’s New Packaging Didn’t Turn Off That Many Women After All


**Updated May 17, 2017

Cult-classic Dove body washes have long been a shower staple for thousands of women. They smell good, they do what they claim and they don’t break the bank. But when a new campaign recently surfaced that was meant to celebrate the brand’s longtime body-positive motto, unlike previous campaigns that were met with great feedback, people weren’t responding well.

Morning Consult, a media and technology company that conducts market research on trends, decided to investigate the negative chatter around the new campaign to find out whether or not the backlash was legit. It polled 2, 209 adults (1,063 men and 1,146 women) across the U.S. on May 9–11, and surprisingly, the results did not reflect the social media reaction at all. The participants were shown pictures of the new “Real Beauty” bottles and the traditional bottles, and asked which one they would purchase—51 percent chose the new campaign’s designs.

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The survey also revealed that hardly anyone (less than one in 10 women) thought the new bottles gave them a worse view of Dove. In fact, when asked how likely they were to purchase the brand’s products after viewing the “Real Beauty” bottles, 71 percent of all participants answered positively. 

**Originally Published May 9, 2017

The reason for the social media stir? Dove didn’t just slap a body-positive message on its body wash bottles; it completely transformed the shape of the bottles to mimic the curves of a woman’s body and different shapes and sizes. 

Consumers are taking to Twitter and Instagram comparing the new limited-edition packaging to Aunt Jemima syrup and honey bear bottles, and mocking them in many different ways. People are saying the body washes actually incite “body shaming” and give women yet another thing to focus on that points out their “curves.”

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Behind the controversial design is the Ogilvy advertising team in London (the body washes are currently only available there), which was tasked with communicating Dove’s iconic body-diversity campaign to consumers. Andre (Dede) Laurentino, global executive creative director for Unilever at Ogilvy UK, told AdWeek, “The Real Beauty Bottles is one of those rare ideas that condenses decades of a brand’s legacy in two seconds. It’s deceivingly simple and quite nuanced: a message about our body conveyed by Dove bottles themselves, it cares for the physical and the emotional, and it brings brand essence and product design seamlessly together.”

A statement on Dove’s UK website reads: “Every woman’s version of beauty is different, and, if you ask us, these differences are there to be celebrated. That’s what real beauty is all about—the unique things that set us apart from each other and make us one of a kind. We’ve championed this version of beauty for the past 60 years, and celebrated diverse women in our groundbreaking real beauty campaigns. But we wanted to bring this to life through our products, too. That’s why we’ve created a limited-edition range of Dove Body Washes, designed to show how beauty is diverse and diversity is beautiful. From curvaceous to slender, tall to petite, and whatever your skin color, shoe size or hair type, beauty comes in a million different shapes and sizes. Our six exclusive bottle designs represent this diversity: Just like women, we wanted to show that our iconic bottle can come in all shapes and sizes, too.”

We’ve reached out to Unilever (Dove’s parent company) for more information on the campaign and its comments on this backlash. Stay tuned to NewBeauty.com for updates.

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