The Most Unforgettable Ad Campaign of 2013

Most Unforgettable Ad

What was named the #1 Most Unforgettable Ad Campaign of 2013 by  Could it have been Chipotle’s “Scarecrow” ad, or was it GEICO’s “Hump Day” commercial? While these were among the top 10 advertisements of 2013, Forbes gave #1 to Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” Commercial. The “Real Beauty Sketches” Commercial is a part of Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign.

In the “Real Beauty Sketches” Commercial, several women (all complete strangers) were asked to interact with one another for a short while. Next, the women were individually called into a studio. In the studio they were greeted by a man. They could not see this man, due to the fact that he sat behind a curtain. He asked each woman to describe her facial features to him and did not give any explanation. The women had no idea what was happening behind the curtain. From the video, the audience can gather that the man was a forensic artist. He drew portraits of the women based on the way that they described themselves.

After all of the women had described the way that they personally looked, they were then asked to describe one of the women that they had interacted with that day. The man behind the curtain then drew those women as well, solely based off of description.

Each woman now had two portraits completed—1 based off of how she described herself, and the other based off of how the stranger had described her. These portraits were then revealed to the women. They were shocked by how different the two portraits were. In every case, the woman had described herself much more harshly than the stranger had. The strangers were very kind in describing one another- they thought that all of the other women were beautiful.


The point that the sketches proved was that the majority of these women were far too harsh on themselves with regard to their appearance. One of the main points that was portrayed in the ad was that ‘everyone is beautiful in their own way’. After the experiment, most of the women admitted that they needed to be more kind to themselves.

The video was extremely thoughtful and well-produced. It was simple, yet touching at the same time. I loved it. I found out about the video while visiting a friend of mine. She was showing me a variety of inspiring videos, and this one was in the mix. The video truly was ‘remarkable’ in the sense that my friend was sharing it and making positive remarks about it. Derek Rucker, a marketing professor at Northwestern University stated that the campaign was “a simple but powerful ad that showcased not only the brand’s insight of the consumer, but demonstrated to the consumer that she may not be aware of her own beauty.” The video has gone viral and has over 62 million views on YouTube.

The ad was criticized by some for talking about beauty on a ‘surface level’. Major complaints arose because Dove is owned by Unilever, the same company that sells Axe (Axe ads are criticized for being overly sexualized). I personally disagree with these negative viewpoints towards Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I think that Dove’s marketing campaign was respectable. Regardless of Unilever’s other affiliates, the Dove Brand produced an advertisement that showed women in a positive light, pointing out that  all women are beautiful in their own way. Even though they talked about beauty on a surface level (and we all know “beauty is only skin deep”), it was still relevant. One’s confidence and self-esteem are often based on their physical appearance to some degree, whether we like to admit it or not. The Dove Commercial did not exploit women in a sexual manner, or try to force a product.  I believe that Dove was being socially responsible with this campaign, encouraging women to realize their true beauty.

Overall, I found the “Real Beauty Sketches” Advertisement to be a marketing win for Dove! As someone who has never purchased (or really considered their products before) I definitely think about their video often and have a newfound respect for their company.

To read more about Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches”, visit


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