Co.Create

After Sketches, Dove's Newest Experiment Is "The Beauty Patch"

The brand "tricks" a group of women about a skin patch to make them feel and look better. Condescending or illuminating?

We know that medicated skin patches can help curb harsh nicotine cravings, but what about a nasty habit of unreasonable self-loathing? That's the question Dove sets out to answer in its latest experiment with Ogilvy & Mather Brazil.

Last time out the brand asked women to describe themselves to a former FBI sketch artist, then compared the results with how others described them. This experiment introduces a small group of women to psychologist Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke, known for her work in eating disorders, body image and self-esteem issues. Dr. Kearney Cooke gives the women a patch called RB-X or "The Beauty Patch" to wear for two weeks and asks them to keep a video diary of that time.

The twist shows that the best medicine comes from inside ourselves. Cue eye rolls.

In a statement, Dr. Kearney-Cooke said, "When a woman feels beautiful, she radiates happiness and confidence, which inspires her life in a significant way. These women, like so many others, struggle to recognize their own beauty and it severely affects their daily lives. This ground-breaking experiment was designed to illustrate that beauty is a state of mind and that the power to feel beautiful comes from within."

The result doesn't pack as much of a punch as "Sketches" did and feels a bit more like a stunt. What do you think, a valuable lesson in self-confidence or a mildly insulting placebo prank?

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6 Comments

  • Michele Engel

    I find it illuminating, not condescending. It appears that at least some of the women participating in the experiment experienced the "placebo effect." The insight that they acquired as a result is important and valid. They're not "dumb," they're human. I just don't find anything about the video to be demeaning. The one thing they could have done to add some credibility to the story would be to have mentioned the percentage of women in the cohort who did NOT experience the "placebo effect," as I'm sure there would have been a portion who did not.

  • There is value in this good old fashioned method of tricking the mind. Those who have achieved a level of self-confidence might forget that far too many women all over the world walk in silent fear each day not feeling good enough about themselves. That said, I felt the scope of women in this campaign could have been broader based and I am sure the motive is money more than to help women achieve self worth. Take the Dove content out and work it for real. The results might be quit amazing. Those who think this campaign makes women look dumb I say it's a bit of both. Let's remember that when we achieve self worth that is ours and not all women are there. It's about opening a door for some other opportunities to look at how we think towards ourselves and I am convinced that is a both an important and good conversation.

  • I cannot stand this. It's insulting. Why aren't the women just saying "oh, this patch of B12 and zoloft is making me feel great!" Ick! Make it go away and stop making us look dumb.

  • Michele Engel

    Let's assume this was a real clinical experiment (which I believe it was). Then the reason the women shown aren't just saying, "oh, this patch of B12 and zoloft is making me feel great!" is because they are under the influence of the placebo effect. If that is the case, and their reactions are true, then the folks at Dove have legitimately made their point. Why would that be "insulting"? Your wishing that women had reacted differently doesn't invalidate what seems to have actually happened. You may believe that you would never have reacted that way, and, in fact, some of the women who took part in the experiment may have reacted differently. Nevertheless, SOME of the women believed the patch made them feel better about themselves, and it wasn't because they are "dumb;" it's because there really is such a thing as the placebo effect.