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Dove - Change the Rhyme

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Globally Dove has very strong equity and differentiated positioning as a result of years of consistent communication around ‘Real Beauty’. However in India, the marketing challenge is that Dove does not have any perceptual strengths on its must-win attributes of ‘inspires women to feel more positive about the way they look’ and ‘believes all women are beautiful’ which have been low and stagnant for a while. (Source: Millward Brown, Dove India Brand Equity Report, April 2014). 

This year Dove embarked on a journey to use the Masterbrand as a lever of brand differentiation and coherence, via a bespoke communication strategy rooted in an ‘India specific insight’ with a new campaign focused on ‘Breaking the Rules of Beauty’.  

Indian women often grow up with the idea of singular beauty ideal- the quintessential tall, thin & fair girl. 631 million women, are expected to conform to this excruciatingly narrow definition, when in reality women come in different shapes, sizes and skin tones. The pressure to comply to this singular beauty ideal often leads to anxiety and low self-esteem among Indian women.  

A closer look made Mindshare realise that these ideals are seeded in the minds of women from as early as childhood. The influences young girls are exposed to either come in the form of Barbie dolls, Disney princesses or stereotypical nursery rhymes. In fact endlessly repeated in the formative years, a nursery rhyme is a formidable tool in creating lasting memory structures.  

Dove saw this insight as an opportunity to widen the beauty ideal and make it more inclusive by celebrating diversity in beauty!   


Chubby cheeks, dimple chin is an extremely popular nursery rhyme in India and often an integral part of the school curriculum. However a nursery rhyme, so simply and innocently, brought to life the singular beauty ideal that Dove was fighting against.  

The agency realised that in order to get people to re-evaluate deeply entrenched values and stereotypes, it needed to communicate to them in a context that was provocative and relevant, and at the same time capable of generating natural popular excitement.  

One such opportunity was the 2016 Rio Olympics. In the last few years, India has seen a surge of interest in non-cricket sports and this Olympics was going to be no different. Added to that, India had a strong contingent of women athletes who were beginning to make waves right from the initial rounds.  

And for once, the conversation was not going to be about the appearance, rather the achievements of these women. This was the right time for Dove to start a conversation that would question the singular ideal of beauty propagated by media, advertising and popular culture.  

Thus, Mindshare decided to use the background of sports juxtaposed with an equally familiar and innocent part of a child’s life—the nursery rhyme—to land the message of how conformist beauty ideals are embedded early in life, while at the same celebrating the women who broke these shackles to follow their dreams.  

The idea came to life as #ChangeTheRhyme—a call to people to evaluate a popular nursery rhyme “Chubby cheeks, dimple chin”. The campaign urged people to challenge and rewrite the rhyme which to us exemplified the singular, narrow beauty ideal that women spend their lives chasing. 

Sports set a compelling visual and cultural context to this and was the starting point for generating audience interest. 


Mindshare initiated the campaign by creating a provocative video “Is that you?” that juxtaposed stark visuals of sportswomen against a powerfully rendered audio of the rhyme in the voices of children.  

The video brought out the irony between the ideal of beauty that the rhyme preaches and the stark images of sports women toiling it out in the sun adorned with blood, sweat and mud.  

This was done in partnership with Culture Machine (a digital content producer), by hosting their YouTube channel “Blush” that caters on female centric content. Dove's asset, “Is that you?” was hosted as part of a series “Unblushed” that had previously given voice to famous women who had broken the shackles of conventional beauty to make a name for themselves.  

The campaign was launched on August 9, just one day after the official opening of the games, with a video and a series of social media posts inviting entries from people to rewrite the rhyme.  

The social campaign further asked audiences to make beauty more inclusive by re-writing the rhyme under the hashtag #changetherhyme. 

The agency chose social media as the primary platform since allows people to express their opinions, seek other’s consent and endorsement and also create communities of like-minded thinkers. It is also a platform that can be the breeding ground of insecurities, since a lot of women get their understanding of ideal beauty from what is being portrayed on social media as the standard.  


 Business Metrics: 
a. Brand consideration score touched a whopping 69%  
b. The key brand metric, “Is a brand that makes the world a more welcoming place” touched 64%. (Source: Millward Brown) 
c. Brand penetration increased by +400 basis points. 

 Campaign metrics: 
a. Total no. of views more than 25 million 
b. The videos garnered over eight million views on YouTube with organic viewership greater than 35%, (industry benchmark 11%).  
c. The campaign reached more than 25 million through various hashtags and brand handles.  
d. Videos garnered an engagement rate of > 2%, (industry benchmark 1.07%).  
e. UNAIDS, and UN Women, the special causes of the United Nations Organisation have also supported and recognised the cause.  
f. Rs 150mn ($2.3m) worth of PR garnered across mediums. 

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Brand Owner:
Hindustan Unilever
August - September 2016
Media Channel:
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