Check out this interesting AdAge article about the Dove campaign, which we've blogged about periodically over the past year or so (here, here, here, here, here and here - yes we love this campaign). You can view spots embedded in the AdAge article or on YouTube.
The article cites several "lessons" about the global campaign effort (I bolded AdAge's original text to highlight what I found interesting):
- Lesson No. 1: Say what you will about globalization, but it works for idea flows. The "Real Beauty" concept originated in Ogilvy's Dusseldorf office, then rapidly made its way to London. A London newspaper article trumpeted an underlying truth about the effort: It wasn't advertising; it was politics. This was no surprise to Dove's global brand director, Silvia Lagnado. Wanting to push the $2 billion brand further, she had commissioned the research showing that only 2% of women worldwide considered themselves beautiful. The team knew from the start its concept was politically charged, and was able to test it and refine it as they took it around the world.
- Lesson No. 2: Continual innovation is central to effective marketing. Almost as soon as the campaign entered the U.S., the agency incorporated new-media elements such as real-time voting on cellphones and tabulation display via giant billboards. So powerful was the public-relations effort that paid media was light, relative to CPG norms.
- Lesson No. 3: Dialogue is de rigeur. "We launched it as website because we wanted it to be a dialogue," Shelly Lazarus says. A conversation, she added, would not be perceived as advertising. "Instead, it's a dialogue, and a dialogue is enfranchising."
- Lesson No. 4: Even the most conventional products must take a position in a public debate. Thirty years ago, least-offensive programming dominated advertising and programming. Today, provocation is in order. The question, Shelly Lazarus says, is: "Can you have your brand lead a movement?"
What I find interesting here is the characterization of the campaign as political; I agree with the point that you're more likely to get noticed and incite engagement if you're tapping into a universal truth or hot button of some kind, instead of just bellowing about your brand attributes. This is why we spend so much time talking about context, backing away from the value proposition and thinking about the larger world our consumer inhabits.
We also spend a lot of time thinking about how to pivot from talking to just one person (woman!) at a time to unlocking a productive chain of communication that can yield brand evangelists and "movements." Clearly thinking about marketing campaigns more like their political brethren will help us.