Yael Staav in AdAge

Yael Staav in AdAge

/ AdAge

Many ad campaigns over the years have sold soap. Fewer have tried to change societal notions about beauty. Even fewer have tried to do both. Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” is the campaign that did it.

The campaign that had its origins in London and Canada with a billboard asking motorists to vote on whether the women pictured were “fat or fit?” or “wrinkled or wonderful?” kicked off a conversation about society’s notions of female standards of beauty. It also arrived at a time when digital media allowed consumers to interact and share the campaign’s messages in a way that allowed it to go viral on a global scale.

Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” is the only campaign cited by every one of the Advertising Age judges as belonging on this list, and one that was described by the panel as groundbreaking, brave, bold, insightful, transparent and authentic.

At the very least, the 10-year-old campaign changed the conversation in advertising and beyond. What really propelled the campaign to prominence was the 2006 “Evolution” viral video, also from the Toronto office. “Evolution” highlighted the practice of photoshopping women’s images, which soon became a hot topic on numerous morning talk shows and in the media.

In addition to the many other awards that Evolution won that year, most notably it took top honors at Cannes - winning the Grand Prix.