The Canadian Advertising Museum’s Inaugural Marshall McLuhan Award (2012) Goes to …


Unilever’s Dove Campaign for Real Beauty:

Specifically, Canadian support for the Dove Self-Esteem Fund

Why the Dove Campaign?

Joanne Lehman, Vice-Chair, Canadian Advertising Museum

As Vice-Chair of the CANADIAN ADVERTISING MUSEUM, I was pleased that the Board of the Museum unanimously agreed that Dove’s Real Beauty campaign was the most deserving recipient of the inaugural 2012 CANADIAN ADVERTISING MUSEUM McLUHAN AWARD.

The story behind this campaign began in 2004 with research that showed that only 2% of women worldwide thought themselves beautiful. After this revelation, a cluster of international Ogilvy offices began developing a campaign that would prove to be a game changer in the way personal care products are marketed.

Then in 2005, the Dove Self-Esteem Fund was created to foster positive self-esteem in girls. One Canadian 60 second TV spot called “Little Girls” raised awareness of the issue and eventually aired on the Super Bowl in 2005. Two dynamic short films were created by the Canadian office titled “Daughters” and “Evolution” in 2006, and “Evolution” went viral on, attracting media attention around the world.

Since then, local self-esteem community workshops, dialogue on Dove’s facebook site, free downloads of on-line educational tools and relevant links from Dove’s website, have enabled the Dove Self-Esteem Fund to touch the lives of one million Canadian girls and women, and more than eight million worldwide.

The numbers are amazing themselves and the business results were also significant. But more opportunities came out of a third 2011 research study leading Dove to explore issues shaping the development of self-esteem in young girls and the relationship women have with their own beauty. The results were discussed with insight and opinion by a panel of accomplished and experienced women at Dove’s New Dish on Beauty held at the Royal Ontario Museum in April 2011.

From its inception to its roll out, the Dove campaign fits seamlessly with Marshall McLuhan’s insight into how the use of social media can create real change in people’s lives and in Dove’s case, millions of women. Also that the types of media used and the way they are used changes forever client and consumer relationships. The Canadian Dove client, its Canadian agencies and partners have made a notable contribution to this global campaign’s success.

Client Credits: Unilever

Agency Credits:

Partner Credits:

  • 1   TV, 60: “ Little Girls”, 2005
  • 2   Viral film: “Daughters”, Sept. 5, 2006
  • 3   Viral Film: “Evolution”, Oct.16, 2006
  • 4   Local self-esteem workshops in the community
  • 5   Facebook conversations at:
  • 6   On-line free downloads of education tools at to help build positive self-esteem in girls and help reach their full potential in life.
  • 7   TV, 30: “Under Pressure”, 2008
  • 8   “Who am I?” Touring Museum Exhibit in collaboration with The Museum in Sherbrooke.
  • 9   TV, Cinema 60: “G(irls)20” and partnership with the G(irls)20 Summit in Toronto in advance of the G20, June 2010.
  • 10   Real Truth about Beauty events: Dove’s New Dish on Beauty at the Royal Ontario Museum in April, 2011 brought together a panel of accomplished women for an intimate discussion of issues around beauty and self-esteem.
  • 11   Social Media, PR: “Women Who Should be Famous” in 2012. Dove’s global study revealed that 32% of girls cite celebrities as their top role model, next to their Moms. So Dove shifted the spotlight to inspiring and remarkable female role models.

One Response to “The Canadian Advertising Museum’s Inaugural Marshall McLuhan Award (2012) Goes to …”

  1. Reblogged this on Media Techno Culture and commented:
    This might be of interest to some of you. Especially given my thoughts about the ubiquitous nature of this campaign in final projects for class over the past several years.

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