Skin and hair care brand Dove is at it again with a new video, "Selfie," which celebrates unique female beauty and examines the way social media has reshaped conversations about beauty.
The topic seems to have struck a chord: Two versions of the video have a combined viewership of more than 3 million. Or, more specifically, as of January 30, the eight-minute version has 604,000 views and the three-minute version has 2.9 million.
"Selfie" premiered at an event tied to the Sundance Film Festival. It challenges young women and their mothers to take a selfie that showcases what they find to be their least desirable physical feature, according to a representative for Recommended Media, a multi-disciplinary entertainment development company and a creative and execution services provider to the advertising industry that represents "Selfie" director Cynthia Wade.
The rep says the video celebrates the 10-year anniversary of Dove's Real Beauty campaign.
According to Dove, it is a brand "rooted in listening to women."
Dove also says it launched its Real Beauty campaign based on a global study, "The Real Truth About Beauty," in 2004 and "started a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty after the study proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable."
According to Wade, Dove and the Sundance Institute partnered last year after a Sundance study of male and female directors found that female directors have less access to opportunities and that while male directors are hired on their potential, female directors are hired after they have proven themselves again and again.
"It's not a level playing field," Wade says.
As a result, Dove gave a large grant to Sundance to support education for female directors over the next year and Sundance sent out an email saying it was looking for a female director to pitch a three-to-seven-minute film "exploring how social media has helped reshape the conversation around beauty," Wade says.
"We talked about what social media is and how it empowers women and might be changing beauty and we came upon the idea of the selfie," Wade says. "It hadn't yet gotten the buzz it now has. This was before [the Oxford English Dictionary] named it the word of the year and James Franco wrote about it in [The New York Times], but it was out there."
In some ways, people don't even use words to express how they feel anymore -- they create and share images via platforms like Snapchat, which supersedes words, Wade says.
After submitting a pitch, Wade says she and producer Sharon Liese got the grant and shot the film in November and December.
At the end of both versions, the #BeautyIs hashtag appears onscreen, which Wade says is Dove's new social campaign.
On the #BeautyIs website, users can add 140-character messages after the hashtag to contribute their own definitions, including photos or videos if they choose. The submissions are aggregated on the site.
Users can also share messages about what #BeautyIs via a similar format on Dove's YouTube channel.
@Dove has 107,000 followers and 21.3 million likes.
All of the videos have a common theme of reminding women they are beautiful and encouraging them to be themselves and to be confident with messages like, "You are more beautiful than you think."
Dove is a Unilever brand.
The Sundance Institute is a nonprofit cultural organization that says it is "dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences."
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014