Dove Real Beauty Sketches: 163 Million Views on YouTube

Dove Real Beauty Sketches: 163 Million Views on YouTube

Dove believes in celebrating beauty in its diversity and, in doing so, raising the self-esteem of women and young girls globally. Featuring real women in advertising has been an integral part of the Dove brand’s DNA—dating back to the introduction of the Dove Beauty Bar in 1957.

Dove launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004 based on the findings of a major global study, The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report. The brand ignited a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty after the study proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable. In 2006, when Spain banned overly thin models from its runways, Dove responded on YouTube with a compelling short film, Evolution, depicting the transformation of a real woman into a model and promoting awareness of how unrealistic perceptions of beauty are created.

The way women see themselves is dramatically different from how others perceive them. Only 4% of women globally consider themselves beautiful and 54% agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic. In 2013, Dove conducted a compelling social experiment to bring this to life. Documented in a short film, Dove Real Beauty Sketches explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.

The film, created by Ogilvy & Mather Brazil, features an FBI-trained sketch artist drawing a woman’s portrait according to her own self-description. He then sketches a portrait of the same woman according to a stranger’s description of her. Throughout, the artist never lays eyes on the women themselves, and neither the artist nor women know about the social experiment.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches struck an emotional chord with millions of women who recognize that when it comes to how they look, the biggest beauty pressure is the pressure they put on themselves. Aggregating views across YouTube and other platforms, the film quickly became the most viewed online video ad of all time, according to Unilever, with over 163 million global views. It is also, according to Unruly Media, the most shared video ad in over a year with over four million shares across a variety of platforms, and the third most shared film of all time.

We knew that we had something magical with Dove Real Beauty Sketches and felt that strategically it would reach the most scale on YouTube and online.

Spreading the Message through YouTube and Google

The original brief from Dove did not specify the type of media to be used, but Ogilvy, PHD and Unilever collectively agreed that YouTube would be the most effective platform to launch the three-minute film. YouTube provided an authentic way for viewers to engage in and share the experience. Fernando Machado, Global VP Dove Skin said, “We knew that we had something magical with Dove Real Beauty Sketches and felt that strategically it would reach the most scale on YouTube and online. The moment that the film was uploaded to the Dove YouTube channel, it quickly started to gain traction around the world with men, women, media and even other brands sharing the film.”

Dove Real Beauty Sketches launched in four key markets, U.S., Canada, Brazil and Australia and was then rolled out across additional countries. The film was uploaded in 25 languages to 46 Dove YouTube channels and quickly amassed global reach and buzz. Dove supported this in the following ways:

  • Increased global investment in TrueView in-stream. TrueView allows users to choose whether or not to watch the video, so Dove knew they were reaching an engaged audience and saw paid views drive earned views. Dove also saw eight million follow-on views from TrueView alone.
  • Added a YouTube homepage masthead in the US, in partnership with Mindshare, giving Dove 100% share of voice for a day on
  • Anticipated search lift and made sure they captured interested audiences actively looking for them. They added Search and TrueView in-search, gathering hand-raisers from both and

YouTube and Google also provided Dove with a platform to encourage participation from their audience, many of whom were moved by the video.

  • The Dove YouTube brand channels allowed users to engage in follow-on activity, such as subscribing to the channel and exploring more content. For Dove Real Beauty Sketches alone, Dove has six videos and over 15 minutes of content, including a six minute version of the film that has three million views.
  • Dove also organized a follow-up Google+ Hangout on Mother’s Day in Canada, where three moms and their daughters were interviewed by the same forensic sketch artist through Hangouts. The Hangout footage was used in a separate TrueView ad campaign, and a Google+ badge added to Dove’s U.S. and Canadian sites helped Dove reach over 275,000 followers on Google+.
  • Dove has even seen user-generated video responses on YouTube. For instance, meganheartsmakeup, who has nearly 650,000 subscribers, produced a response to the film that has over 56,000 views.

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$0.45 USD - $4.00 USD

Note: The accepted formula that Auxiliary Mode Inc. uses to calculate the CPM range is $0.45 USD - $25.00 USD.

The range fluctuates this much because many factors come into play when calculating a CPM. Quality of traffic, source country, niche type of video, price of specific ads, adblock, the actual click rate, watch time and etc.

Cost per thousand (CPM) is a marketing term used to denote the price of 1,000 advertisement impressions on one webpage. If a website publisher charges $2.00CPM, that means an advertiser must pay $2.00 for every 1,000 impressions of its ad. The "M" in CPM represents the Roman numeral for 1,000.

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