Dove’s New “Beauty Patch” Ad Tells Women Low Self-Esteem Issues Are All In Their Head

Dove Beauty Patch April 2014Hoping to catch the viral success of its original “Beauty Sketches” campaign, Dove has launched a new “Patches” ad built on the premise that women’s self esteem issues are all in our head.

In the new ad, “Psychologist and distinguished scholar at Columbia University” conducts a research project, inviting women to use the “revolutionary” RB-X patch, developed to “Enhance the way women perceive their own beauty.”

The research participants are asked to apply the patch and keep a video diary, logging how they feel about themselves from day to day. The ad includes clips of the participants saying, at first, they don’t feel a change, but then over the course of 10-days feeling more confident. One woman tells the camera, “I feel beautiful no matter if I’m sick, tired, or the fact there’s a pimple on my nose.”

What the women don’t learn until the end is that the patch they applied is actually a placebo, a simple sticker with zero medicinal qualities.

There was a sincerity to Dove’s original “Beauty Sketches” campaign, showing how women see themselves versus how others see them, that is lacking here.

To me, this new campaign feels condescending and deceitful, telling women their lack of confidence is all in their head…versus the billions of dollars spent annually on advertising meant to convince women we are not young enough, thin enough, pretty enough, and now, confident enough. (Not to mention Hollywood’s obsession with plastic surgery, and the regular photoshopping of female bodies on the hundreds of magazine covers standing guard at every grocery check-out lane.)

Posted only yesterday, the ad has already earned 1.3 million views and won more than 2,500 shares on Facebook and Twitter. According to, Dove’s new campaign received a simultaneous introduction in 65 countries with, “Paid media support from the get-go.”

Dove’s global senior VP Steve Miles told AdAge, “In terms of market share, the ultimate proof of whether consumers are coming with us, or all of the brand equity measures I look at, we’re on an ascending trend with Dove in almost every region of the world.”

Here’s the full four-minute ad for you to judge if Dove’s latest campaign is more condescending than eye-opening:

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Top News | Video


About The Author: is Third Door Media's General Assignment Correspondent, and reports on the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including,, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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  • Alden Dale

    Call me a pessimist, but I find that assuming a corporations do what they do because they like money, not because they care, is a pretty safe assumption. In this case Dove was trying to further capitalize on the amazing success they’ve had with their “you’re awesome just as you are” campaigns they’ve been running lately.

    Based on the fact that this ad rubbed you the wrong way, I think its safe to say this was a “miss” in terms of keeping with the general feel of that campaign. The “Buy our products because we care about you” has always seemed like a risky move and slipups like this show just how sensitive the messaging in that kind of campaign needs to be.

  • Kevin Anchi

    Well I have a different experience I have meet few women who are talented but have low self esteem due to the environment they are in and the people they stuck up with and most importantly the family background which holds back women

  • Carolyn Thomas

    Ever since Dove launched its ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ 10 years ago, I have quite deliberately boycotted the brand.

    Make no mistake: Unilever (Dove’s parent company) is not in the business of caring about women’s fragile self-esteem. They are in the business of convincing us to purchase their products. Period.

    And these campaigns have worked quite spectacularly: in their very first year following the Real Beauty launch, Dove sales topped $1 billion. European sales of Dove beauty products increased by 700%. Unilever’s own website claims that over half of all women surveyed report that they would purchase Dove products after seeing the Dove ads.

    All we need to do is to get past the irony of sincere-sounding ads trying earnestly to convince us that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with us – nothing, that it, that can’t be fixed by buying more of Dove’s anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, anti-cellulite creams. More on this at:

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