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"Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign: Body Positive Promotion or Genderwashing?" icon

Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign: Body Positive Promotion or Genderwashing?

This case discusses the rapid growth of the now controversial “positive body image” promotional strategy, that some have suggested is “genderwashing,” whereby firms may engage with progressive gender and race issues in one brand’s promotional campaign while creating perceived contrary campaigns with that of other brands or campaigns that don’t seem to fit the body positive narrative. Specifically, this case examines the Dove Real Beauty campaign in conjunction with that of Axe Body Spray and Fair Lovely (all brands owned by Unilever) from a conceptual perspective. A conceptual model of a genderwashing is offered and potential managerial implications are articulated whereby it is posited that these campaigns can lead to consumer cynicism and a desire to cease purchases.

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