What Dove’s Project #ShowUs can teach us about content marketing

2019 has been a wild year already – Game of Thrones shook viewers with the final season, Lil Nas X broke the internet and the Billboard Hot 100 charts with Old Town Road, Megan and Harry had their baby, Uber went public (that didn’t go well)… you get where I’m going with this. A lot has happened and we’ve seen a lot of exciting content and digital marketing efforts this year.

Content isn’t just king, it reigns supreme. In response to this brands are taking their content production to the new levels and the media landscape we find ourselves is facilitating this. People are consuming more content and  spending more time online but if we look closely at the campaigns that are managing to cut through the noise – it’s the ones that combine purpose, great storytelling and impeccable distribution.

I’ll be using Dove Project #ShowUS campaign because I think it’s the perfect lens to view the current state of content marketing through. A study by Dove revealed that 70% of women don’t feel represented by the media and advertising; Dove being the kind of brand has strongly aligned itself with empowering women and girls around the world decided to create a campaign that wouldn’t just draw attention to the problem but also attempts to fix it, by producing the a stock library that shatters beauty stereotypes by providing the media and advertisers imagery that is representative of all women. 

I came across the week it launched when a few influencers that I follow started sharing talking about representation, asking questions around the media and beauty and inviting their followers to share their beauty stories. Then the project launched – #ShowUS, produced in collaboration with Getty Images and Girlgaze. These three entities collaborated to produce the world’s largest stock library created by women and non-binary individuals; the purpose of this library is to shatter beauty stereotypes and provide the media and advertisers with imagery that is inclusive and representative of all women. Doves doesn’t always get it right but when they do, boy do they get it right!

 

Dove has consistently championed body positivity and over the years has produced campaigns that have encouraged to see women and girls to view their body’s through a different and more positive lens. This campaign is no different; the stock library currently features 179 women from 39 countries, created in collaboration with 116 women and non-binary photographers.

 

 

How Dove used social media:
Dove partnered with body positivity influencers like Thickleeyonce, Siphokazi Veti, Elle Rose, etc. to introduce and promote the project. The project was all over my Instagram stories and timeline, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Dove, Getty Images and Girlgaze collectively  flooded their social channels with the visuals from the campaign, so did the models and photographers involved. This strategic delivery of the content ensured that the campaign reached different communities all over the world.

 


Collaboration:
The partnership between Dove, Getty Images and Girlgaze makes sense because Girlgaze champions the meaningful visibility of women an non-binary creatives. The platform is dedicated to getting members from these groups paid by giving them access to opportunities that they ordinarily wouldn’t be able to access. Getty Images is the biggest stock library in the world and is used by virtually every industry. By partnering with them Dove is ensuring the visibility of the body’s and offering the creators involved another opportunity to get paid (over and above what they were paid by Dove).

 

Purpose:
“We believe beauty should be a source of confidence, and not anxiety. That’s why we are here to help women everywhere develop a positive relationship with the way they look, helping them raise their self-esteem and realise their full potential.”

Dove is one of those brands that does purpose driven marketing well (when they’re not offending people, that is) and Project #ShowUs is straight out of the Dove playbook. It ties into the Dove’s philosophy of helping develop see their body’s in a positive light and create a culture of confidence and self love. We’ve seen a lot of great campaigns this year but I chose to look at Project #ShowUs because it brings together a lot of the elements that we see in some of the most successful campaigns – it’s rooted in a strong purpose, collaboration and great content delivered in a sophisticated manner. I enjoy this campaign – the concept, the content and the way it lives online and IRL. 

Honorable mentions must go Nike for their Dream Crazy campaign that took multiple awards at Cannes recently; it’s a wonderful example of impeccable storytelling and I’ve loved watching the campaign narrative evolve and expand to include more body’s and stories. There are lots of lessons that these campaigns can teach marketers about being meaningful in their marketing efforts and look at how they can use their budgets to sell products but also inspire.

 

Cole Ndelu graduated from the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography with a degree in Visual Communication. She is an internationally awarded photographer and is part of this years class of Design Indaba Emerging Creatives. She is a content producer at HKLM, specializing in social media management, PR and strategy.

Cole Ndelu

Cole Ndelu graduated from the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography with a degree in Visual Communication. She is an internationally awarded photographer and is part of this years class of Design Indaba Emerging Creatives. She is a content producer at HKLM, specializing in social media management, PR and strategy.

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