Cause + Action Awards: Dove hangs self-esteem issues out to dry

With its dramatization of stats via 3D billboards, the brand's work to encourage self-confidence secured its win.


Dove recently conducted a study and found that low self-esteem and lack of body confidence prevents girls, particularly ages eight to 16, from doing many physical activities they love, including swimming and soccer.

The brand’s challenge was not only to create awareness for its target audience of moms ages 25 to 54, but also let girls know about all the things that the Dove Self-Esteem Project does to promote confidence in themselves and their bodies.


With a shocking statistic that “six out of 10 girls avoid doing things they love because they lack body confidence,” the brand decided to visually dramatize this truth with an outdoor execution.

Dove created a campaign that would connect consumers to the tangible things the Dove Self-Esteem Project does, which include giving women the tools (such as information guides and games) to inspire each other and the girls in their lives. The brand also wanted to help moms and mentors talk to young girls in their lives about body issues, before they become ingrained and destructive.


In April 2013, with the help of Ogilvy, Mindshare and Harbinger, Dove erected two 3D billboards featuring real soccer cleats and swimsuits, along with two large-scale vinyl ads, in busy intersections in two of Canada’s largest cities (Toronto and Montreal). The billboards revealed shocking statistics on how body image issues prevent girls from participating in sports. The intent was to raise awareness and help spark conversations between moms, mentors and girls.


The campaign generated seven million impressions, with media running for over two months. The 3D billboards alone garnered nearly three million impressions. The local execution was well received around the world, and is being picked up and executed in other markets, such as Australia.

Judge’s comments

“[This is] an extension of the ['Campaign for Real Beauty'] that delves deeper. Shocking statistics give legs to the successful campaign and change the dialogue.” – Kim Rapagna, Target