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Unilever SVP Global Marketing: how Dove’s Beauty Theory would be delivered today

Jack Hershman

Ad blocking and consumer content creation presents a number of challenges for marketers. Video, so says one of Unilever’s most senior marketers, is the answer.

In 2002, Aline Santos, now SVP Global Marketing at Unilever, played an integral role in the iconic marketing campaign: Dove’s Beauty Theory.

Its aim was to establish a more inclusive definition of beauty worldwide, and eradicate the long held beauty ideals and standards that have, for decades, delivered a corrupt message to females by creating an unrealistic expectation of the female physical appearance.

The aim of Santos’ campaign was to depict beauty as something attainable.

Executing on a campaign like this now however, would be a radically different task, requiring a wholly different content strategy, argues Santos.

The change this time round, would be a heavy reliance on video that manifests through a variety of mediums besides just broadcast.

Such variety is hugely important for the content strategy of today’s marketers, largely because, as Santos rightly points out, “the world was a completely different place, back then.”

“There were fewer touch points marketers needed to be concerned about,” and this has changed dramatically.

Not only are there now “zillions of touch points, and so many different ways to connect with consumers.” There are also a couple of rather large, industry changing hurdles in the way too.

The first hurdle, Santos makes clear, is ad blocking.

“It is something we cannot ignore. And this means that brands now don’t have the right to advertise wherever they would like.”

The second piece, she explains, is that consumers have significantly more control in terms of the brands they allow into their lives, and onto their screens.

“Consumers are curating what they would and wouldn’t like to see.”

“Therefore it becomes very important for marketers to create content.”

“People love watching videos,” says Santos, which explains why there has been such a dramatic rise in its usage within the content strategy of marketers worldwide.