I love Dove. And that’s exactly what their marketing department wants.

Even with this knowledge, I still can’t help myself. To be more specific, I love their “real beauty” campaign. You’ll remember these ladies…

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This is a great example of repositioning a brand to appeal to the emotional inner core of their demographic, which clearly they understand very well. “It’s ok to be me.” “I’m beautiful as I am.” These undercurrents come across clearly throughout the campaign. (I admit I have to push aside the truth that I find it troubling that using actual-size people rather than skinny supermodels to sell beauty products is a revolutionary concept. But I’ll take it.)

In April, Dove took it up a notch and dominated viral advertising by releasing the video “Real Beauty Sketches” on YouTube. It became the most-shared ad on YouTube, at 3.1 million shares. (Total views on YouTube to date: 43,823,462.) Take a moment to think about that: it’s an advertisement that’s been shared across the Internet over 3 million times. Not an annoying ad you’ve muted while trying to watch your TV program. It’s an ad you’ve posted on Facebook or emailed a link to a friend you thought would appreciate it. I did that very action myself after being resistant to watching the video as it was posted on Facebook by about 50 different friends. By the 51st post, I thought, “Dang I guess it’s worth a watch” and clicked over. Then I shared on Facebook. Here it is:

(Refresh the page if you can’t see the video above)

This ad was meaningful for people — more importantly, for Dove’s demographic. I have to admit it made me think twice. I had a tear in the corner of my eye. I loved it.

I have a great appreciation for the Dove campaign and the insight their team has brought to the brand and marketing. The do it right. Even if it doesn’t make me immediately run out and purchase Dove products, the authenticity, relationship, and trust is there. That’s what build great brands over time.