Strong and Weak Social Media Strategies – A Case Study

Dove Real Beauty Campaign
Image: Dove/picture-alliance/dpa

Dove had launched the Real Beauty Campaign in 2004 because of a global study, The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report. In this report, just 2% of women worldwide had described themselves as beautiful.
They started a worldwide conversation about the definition of beauty when they launched their campaign in 2004.

And the Real Beauty Campaign was probably one of the first digital campaigns that attracted a massive following (26 million people). Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is now going strong for over 15 years. They consistently release new and engaging content to their customers and followers and sometimes ask them to participate in it as well. Which makes the customers also the content creator.
Dove also makes great use of Facebook (almost 30 million followers), Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

But since Dove first launched their “Real Beauty Campaign” many other companies have jumped on the bandwagon to what we now call “Femvertising”.

Image source: https://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/role-models.html

Another strategy that I like, that is also part of “Femvertising” and that looks like it is paying off for the company is Mattel’s “Inspiring Women – You Can Be Anything” Campaign for Barbie that they launched after their sales started to drop 20% between 2012 and 2014.
Mattel knew they had to make some changes and with Barbie’s 60th birthday in 2019 they had some time to plan. They brought out a diverse range of dolls (skin/hair color) and of different professions, such as an astronaut, news anchor, judge, soccer player, pilot, firefighter etc. And also 20 Barbie dolls of real-life inspiring women, such as Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhardt and Sally Ride.

Just in time for Barbie’s birthday she also got her own YouTube channel, they partnered up with Virgin Atlantic Airlines to show younger girls the scope of what a career of a pilot, the cabin crew or an engineer looks like.

Barbie documented the launch of the new dolls around the world also on her Instagram account.

Thanks to those marketing efforts Barbie gained 75.000 followers across all platforms and received 4.5 times the digital engagement on social. And Mattel’s sales jumped up 12% after this campaign as well. Success all around!

Poor Strategies On Social Media – Ancestry.com

Image: Ancestry

In early 2019 Ancestry.com brought out an advertisement online that generated a lot of backlash and made them pull the ad fairly quickly.

If you watch the ad you will see that Ancestry.com is clearly romanticizing and whitewashing a slavery-era love story between a black woman and a white man.

In the video which is named “Inseparable”, the man presents a wedding ring to the woman, and then says that they can run away to “a place we can be together across the border”.

After the video was taken down Ancestry.com also issued an apology.

To prevent this, I think Ancestry.com should next time test and go over their ads with a test-audience. Mistakes like that can be avoided and if possible they should not draw on sexuality, gender, race or disability remarks when creating content.

They proved to us before that they can create great ads/strategies for example with the “My Story” Campaign.

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