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Five real girls, five real stories of ‘the marriage beauty test’ – by Ogilvy India and Dove

Dove releases #StopTheBeautyTest, a campaign created by Ogilvy India.

Dove released a new campaign – #StopTheBeautyTest – a campaign that carries a significant message for the country.

Dove believes that beauty is not one dimensional and the brand has been on a mission to make beauty a positive experience that is accessible to every woman.  In keeping with its belief, it challenges toxic beauty practices to raise the self-esteem of women across the world. Through this campaign, Dove addresses a momentous stage in the life of every young Indian woman subjected to a ‘test of beauty’ that makes her feel unbeautiful and crushes her self-esteem.

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From the time a girl is born, she is constantly looked at through the marriage lens and is judged and rejected for not being beautiful enough when she is of marriageable age. Does she meet the beauty standards which scream out loud across matrimonial ad pages – slim, fair, tall?  If not, she gets rejected. Often, more than once.  Her self-esteem diminishing with each rejection.  A rejection based solely on her looks. This search for beauty is ugly and disparaging.

Dove questioned, how can something as beautiful as finding your life partner turn so ugly?  What can Dove do for the Indian woman? How can it be culturally relevant and create brand love in every woman’s heart? How could Dove make beauty a positive experience for the women going through experiences like this?  The answer is revealed through the campaign #StopTheBeautyTest.

Hephzibah Pathak

Hephzibah Pathak – Vice Chairperson & Chief Client Officer, Ogilvy India: “With this campaign, Dove, along with some brave women, provokes a conversation around the practices during the marriage process, that diminish and chip away a woman’s self-worth. Dove believes that beauty should be a source of joy for women. For this intention to have meaning and start getting realised in our culture, we had to choose the moment that matters the most, to inspire change. This is a small step towards achieving the brand’s beautiful ambition of a world where women can enjoy beauty on their own terms.”

To add power to the campaign we decided to stay true to the brand world of using real women, real stories.  We collected stories of rejection from a nationwide research.  The protagonists in the campaign, are young women who have gone through this very same rejection and feel strongly about it; these young women decided to be a part of this campaign.  Their courage and willingness to come forward and question beauty norms is the turning point that gives this campaign a compelling and relatable tonality.

Five strong, bold women who cover the 5 key beauty prejudices i.e. height, weight, complexion, hair type and even birthmarks, partnered Dove to make its point: When you look for beauty you will find beauty.  When you look for flaws, you will find flaws.  Nudging society gently but firmly to take it upon themselves to stop this ugly beauty test.

Our intent for this campaign was to stop this test of beauty.

Zenobia Pithawalla

Zenobia Pithawalla – Senior Executive Creative Director & Mihir Chanchani – Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy India: “In India when it comes to a woman and her beauty, she is at her most vulnerable when she is of marriageable age.  90 per cent of single women in India feel they are rejected for marriage because of their looks. We decided to intervene at this point, where the woman needs us most.

For a young woman, the journey of finding a life partner doesn’t have to turn into an ugly beauty test. Thus, we came up with Dove’s #StopTheBeautyTest campaign.

Staying true to the spirit of brand Dove, we worked with real women who were actually rejected on the basis of their looks.  But were brave enough to feature in our campaign as they wanted to do their bit to stop this beauty test.”

Dove’s #StopTheBeautyTest, a film born out of conversations with real women from across the country, captures some raw situations where women are judged by prospective in-laws for not being slim/tall/fair/straight-haired enough. It goes on to emphasize the unspoken impact of this judgement on their self-esteem and confidence.  Through real stories enacted by real women, Dove sends out a powerful message – ‘there cannot be one definition of beauty. Beauty comes in all shapes, colours and sizes.

Priya Nair, Executive Director, HUL & VP – Beauty and Personal Care South Asia: “In a country of 631 million women, it is unfortunate that there is such intense pressure to adhere to one definition of beauty. As owners of some of the largest beauty brands in the country, the onus to make beauty more positive and more inclusive is on us. Dove has always believed that beauty should be source of confidence, not anxiety. With #StopTheBeautyTest, we want to go one step forward in that direction.”


Agency: Ogilvy India

Brand: DOVE

Chief Creative Officers: Harshad Rajadhyaksha & Kainaz Karmakar

Vice Chairperson & Chief Client Officer, Ogilvy India: Hephzibah Pathak

Office Leader – Ogilvy India (West): VR Rajesh

Senior Executive Creative Director: Zenobia Pithawalla

Executive Creative Director: Mihir Chanchani

Chief Strategy Officer: Prem Narayan

Vice President, Planning: Abigail Dias

Executive Vice President, Account Management: Walter Noronha

Vice President, Account Management: Dharal Goshalia

Account Director: Sanam Chowdhry

Account Executive: Freea Bhikhaji

Client: Hindustan Unilever Ltd.

Executive Director, HUL & VP – Beauty and Personal Care South Asia: Priya Nair

Vice President – Hair Care, Dove Masterbrand: Harman Dhillon

Brand Manager – Hair Care: Sonam Kothari

Senior Brand Manager: Lipsa Das

Brand Associate: Raheja Om

Production House: Chrome Pictures

Director: Amit Sharma

Executive Producer: Abhishek Notani