Beauty advertising does more than just share the newest shade of lipstick; it carefully crafts campaigns in a way that emphasizes an experiential feeling for the consumer. Beauty advertising specifically uses Twitter to achieve this. By creating an online presence on this platform, marketers of the beauty industry are able to see the thoughts and feelings of their consumers, and can therefore customize interactions to push brand messages through to them.
Unilever introduced Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty in 2006 to diffuse the stigma attached to outspoken self-love, to re-define beautiful by throwing out stereotypes, and to celebrate what is good and natural about all women — every shape, age, and size. It has ridden the new wave of social media straight to shore, establishing its own social media pages and the #RealBeauty hashtag. Dove took to Twitter to create deeper connections with its consumers to accompany the deep topics they cover throughout the campaign. The #SpeakBeautiful campaign was first launched at the Academy Awards in 2015. Dove and Twitter created a new technology to assess tweets as positive or negative. On the night of the awards, Dove was positioned on Twitter and ready to respond to women’s tweets that negatively compared themselves to celebrities and showed low self-esteem.
The #SpeakBeautiful campaign reappeared in 2016 with a new twist: Dove would now be able to target Twitter users through body image related keywords within their tweets. Dove specifically looked for women that tweeted negative things about their body, or alluded to a lack of self-worth. Dove seized this opportunity to step in as a brand, and began to make positive replies to the tweets. Women were also able to retweet a specific tweet from the Dove account to get a guaranteed response and personal analysis of their own tweets.
By encouraging consumers to retweet the #SpeakBeautiful message, Dove was able to secure earned media straight from its consumers that advertised the positivity campaign to a broader range of networks.
However, this initiative was not met without criticism. Some of the women that received replies from Dove felt that their insecurities had been preyed upon for the purpose of pushing a message. Others felt that this was a phony attempt to create relationships with consumers, with the main purpose being for Unilever just to sell products.
Advertisers are often met with criticism such as this. The key to using Twitter in this manner is to be genuine. The brand must be careful to place itself in the consumer’s world in a subtle “hey, we’re listening” way, rather than in an aggressive “hey, buy our product” way. While many of Dove’s tweets did not contain a product mention at all, it is vitally important to remember that all interactions between brand and consumer are considered advertising — if not for a single product, then for the brand and the brand’s reputation itself.
Dove used Twitter to replicate its core values of female empowerment. The brand utilizes these messages to change the way women speak about themselves online and think about themselves daily, which is sure to make them stand out on the beauty aisle.