Does Dove’s “Choose Beautiful” Campaign Send a Positive Message?

Love them or hate them, Dove’s long-running Campaign for Real Beauty ads are conversation-sparkers—and the latest one, released on Tuesday, is no exception. For the “Choose Beautiful” social experiment/viral video, shot in San Francisco, Shanghai, Delhi, London and São Paolo, the beauty brand placed signs on two doors side by side, designating one “Beautiful” and the other “Average,” then filmed women deciding which one to walk through:

The message, Dove explained in a statement, is that “feeling beautiful is a personal choice that women should feel empowered to make for themselves, every day.

In less than a week, the YouTube video has already racked up more than 4.1 million views, earning both praise and flak. A sampling of the reactions:

Today.com: “Dove’s latest inspirational ad is here, and you might want to grab a box of tissues.”

The Globe and Mail: “[W]omen are rated on their appearance all day, every day. Passing strangers on the street regularly feel free to evaluate women vocally, or to tell them they would be prettier if they smiled. Is asking women to subject themselves to public physical evaluation really the best exercise for a brand built on promoting self-esteem?” 

Refinery29: “Dove is known for its powerful, inspiring ad campaigns, and can be credited as one of the first major companies to shift the conversation and spotlight onto real women. The result? Videos that are viral sensations and strike a serious emotional chord with audiences. This latest endeavor might be the iconic beauty brand’s most moving effort yet.”

Ad Week: “Here’s the thing: Someone doesn’t have to be beautiful to matter, or to value themselves. This spot’s concept is more complicated than it seems, too—forcing women to put themselves into two distinct categories and positioning ‘Average’ as a negative concept.”

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