October 6th, 2014 By Jack Morton
They have become some of the most popular and polarizing ads in recent years. And despite the negative commentary, despite the trolling, despite all the anonymous sneering, advocates say these ads are working.
Negative portrayals of women in advertising take a toll—60 seconds of exposure to ads featuring underweight models can change perceptions of attractiveness for the worse in women. 33% of young women are dissatisfied with their looks, up from 26% two years ago.
So some brands are taking an active approach to changing the status quo, through campaigns that promote positive messages to women and girls. What’s interesting about these ads is that they contain very little product placement. In fact, the Dove Real Beauty sketches have no product placement at all. So you might assume they’re purely goodwill campaigns, and potentially a little polarizing to anyone for whom female empowerment is not an important issue.
In reality, these ads have a positive affect on sales. 52% of women have bought a product because they liked how the ad for it portrayed women. Dove saw sales jump by 1.5 BILLION dollars after the launch of the Real Beauty campaign. Pro-women advertising has also received positive feedback from men. Turns out there’s little, if anything, to lose by promoting positive body image to women.