With its latest ad campaign, Dove is making a big statement. Dove announced their campaign “Courage Is Beautiful” on April 8 as a message of gratitude for health care workers tirelessly working on the front lines to help treat COVID-19 patients. The ad shows the faces of nurses and doctors with their faces marked by the masks they have to wear all day, every day.
“There was a feeling we got that courage is beautiful. We thought, Why not try to show people who were doing this and also ask people to join us to thank these people who are risking their lives? We did it in, I have to say, four or five days.” Alfredo Manfredi, Executive Vice President of the Global Dove brand, told Ad Age.
“As a thank you, Dove is donating to @DirectRelief to care for front-line health care workers in the US. See what else we’re doing and join us at Dove.com/BeSafe,” Dove tweeted. Unilever, Dove’s parent company, has donated more than $108 million of supplies and money to charities like Feed America.
As a thank you, Dove is donating to @DirectRelief to care for front-line healthcare workers in the US. See what else we're doing and join us at https://t.co/FaQiWMYFbQ #CourageIsBeautiful #CareFromDove pic.twitter.com/RrCFv5j9Ba— Dove (@Dove) April 8, 2020
Many were moved by the ad and the images of the health care workers.
Thank you!! As a nurse working during this horrible virus, I have to wear the same mask all shift. my face has been irritated and breaking out in a rash. I have been using dove soap and scrub and it for sure helps ?. Thank you for donating and for your products. Xo, Caitlyn— Caitlyn // Taylor Swift Karaoke Enthusiast (@cray4tayRN) April 13, 2020
Dove has been a company that many look to for representation and inclusivity. They are known for redefining what is considered conventionally beautiful by societal standards. Dove has other campaigns that reflect their idea like their 2013 campaign "Dove Real Beauty Sketches" and their 2016 campaign #MyBeautyMySay.
However, we still have to put into context the fact that Dove is a beauty company whose number one consumers are mostly women. And while the ad campaign features both women and men, women seem to be the larger demographic. At first glance, this ad seems to come from a good place but most of Dove’s slogans surround the idea of “beauty”. They have slogans like, “Put Your Best Face Forward” and “You Are More Beautiful Than You Think” which focus on some societal idea of beauty. While they are a company that definitely allows for more representation, they are still cashing in on women’s insecurities.
We have to ask ourselves why women should feel pressure to be “beautiful” in a pandemic situation where they are saving lives and facing danger all the time. But, despite all of this, it is still nice that the brave and courageous healthcare workers are being recognized for their hard work.
Header image screenshot from “Courage is Beautiful” Dove campaign.
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Georgia is a journalism student at The New School in Manhattan who loves writing, watching cartoons and intersectional feminism. She is an avid napper and cat lover. Because she is behind on the times, follow her only recently made twitter @georgiagrdodd.