Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Martha Stewart; The Rise, Fall and, Rise Again

Topic: Martha Stewart; The Rise, Fall and, Rise Again


She’s a Jersey girl with a flare for home making. Born Martha Helen Kostyra in 1941, Martha Stewart has been a part of the business world since 1967. She’s a familiar face and an accomplished author, editor, and model who charmed millions with her abilities to give everything in the home the “right touch” until 2002 when accusations of insider trading surfaced ending in a 5-month jail sentence.
Coming from an eight-person middle-class home in Jersey City, New Jersey, Stewart learned many of her skills for cooking and gardening from her Polish-American parents. She began her modeling career while still in high school and was awarded a partial scholarship to Barnard College in New York City. While there she studied Art and European History as well as Architectural History and met and married her husband, Andy Stewart. Stewart’s daughter, Alexis was born in 1965. Two years after the birth of Alexis, Stewart entered the business world, and in particular, Wall Street. This move would characterize her for years to come.

The Rise:
Stewart began her rise to fame by starting her own catering business. Named “The Uncatered Affair,” Stewart and her friend, Norma Collier, started the business from Stewart’s basement. The business was successful but the partnership soon failed when Collier discovered Stewart was taking on jobs without telling her. Collier would comment later that Stewart was hard to work with. At this time, Stewart also became the manager of a gourmet food store called “The Market Basket.” Here she was able to use her business skills once more to turn the small store into an economic success.
In 1977 good fortune struck again as The Uncatered Affair catered a book release party for New York publisher, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Stewart was introduced to Alan Mirken, who was the head of the Crown Publish Group. He later contacted her to write Entertaining, a cookbook with recipes and pictures from her parties. It was a New York Times Best Seller.
Word of her skills grew and Stewart published more books, beginning in 1984. She also wrote newspaper columns and magazine articles and made television appearances. By 1990, Stewart began to serving as editor-in-chief for Martha Stewart Living, a magazine published by Time Publishing Ventures. In 1993, Stewart’s televisions show, by the same name, earned the privilege of being shown daily for one-hour. In 1995 CBS called her “the definitive American woman of our time.”
With goals of brand direction in mind, Stewart decided to compile each of her separate companies into one solid structure. The end result was called “Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia” and the announcement of the launching of her website, and “Martha by Mail,” a catalogue business.

The Fall:
The downfall of the Martha Stewart Empire came in 2002. Stewart, the stock broke connoisseur sold her 3,928 shares of the experimental oncology drug company ImClone days before FDA did not approve the drug. The following day, ImClone fell 16 percent. Stewart was accused of insider trading and in March of 2004 she was convicted on four counts of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice. With this came a series of reputation-ruining events such as stepping down as CEO of MSLO, resigning her board member status at the New York Stock Exchange and beginning serving a five-month prison term at the Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia.
Under a settlement made in August of 2006, Stewart paid $195,000 to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Stewart was barred from serving as a director of a public company. This means limitations in all areas of finance.

The Rise (again):
Now that she was out of prison, Martha Stewart was ready to get her life back. She returned to Martha Stewart Living, the magazine, and expanded her home furnishings line to bigger companies such as Sears. The biggest part of her revival was returning to her television show and then attempting an Apprentice spin-off, which failed after just one season.
Other attempts came in the forms of two new book released in the October following her sentence, one concerned the aspects of a successful business and the other was a baking hand-book. She resumed her role of contributing gardener, cook and homemaker for various NBC’s The Today show segments. The following year, Martha Stewart Living was nominated in six categories, including Best Host and Best Show, for the Daytime Emmy Awards.
Other various projects have followed such as MSLO launching a line of houses prices between $200,000 and $400,000. The houses are to be modeled after a selection of Stewart’s own homes. MSLO is currently involved in the development of upscale home wares for department stores, a 24-hour satellite radio network where Stewart hosts a call-in show.
In 2006 Stewart made a guest appearance on ABC’s Ugly Betty where she gave instructions on how to properly cook a Thanksgiving turkey.

Steps Taken to Prepare for Case Study:

Primary research for this case study, The Rise, Fall and, Rise Again of Martha Stewart, was chiefly conducted through the search engines of Pro Quest, Lexis Nexus, the Martha Stewart webpage and, various books containing other case studies done on Martha Stewart and her life. News articles as well as press releases provided the bulk of information pertaining to Martha Stewart’s legal problems involving the allegations brought against her for insider trading of ImClone stock and her conviction for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. All major news sources in the nation included articles about the case including: the New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times and, the Wall Street Journal. The bulk of press releases concerning the case were released through PR Newswire and all were included on the Martha Stewart web site. Interviews conducted with public relations professionals was additional research done that provided us with a critical analysis of the case and how it was portrayed by the media as well as Martha Stewart’s personal representatives.
The news articles as well as press releases outlined the feelings of both the media and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia toward the case against Martha Stewart and her legal matters. In many instances the media is unbiased towards Stewart and merely presents the facts. In other cases the media portrays Stewart as just another wealthy executive who was getting what they deserved; a representation that money does not get you an out of jail free card and, in other cases portrays her as a victim who was targeted for her status as a female figurehead in American business. However, the press releases released by MSLO have a much different tone and humanize Stewart allowing her, her to be seen as person who had made a mistake and who was facing her charges backed by the support of her friends, family and company. The press releases always portray Stewart as the leading lifestyle specialist and a woman who feels deep sorrow for her actions and in no way meant to compromise any one else’s livelihood. The company supports Stewart and considers her an integral part of their future endeavors.

Objectives of this case study:
• Outline the rise of Martha Stewart’s career beginning before she entered the public eye, during her rise to fame including, the aspects of her life that made her famous then, her fall during her legal problems concerning insider trading of ImClone stock.
• Discuss the way the outside media portrayed Martha Stewart during the years of her legal struggle.
• Discuss the way that her company, MSLO, portrayed Martha Stewart during the years of her legal struggle.
• Outline the efforts MSLO took to rebuild their brand image and repair their losses from negative media coverage of Martha Stewart.

SWOT Analysis

• There were many press releases and news articles written throughout the duration of the case making information easily accessible.
• Many others have written case studies about Martha Stewart and have investigated her life; this information will be helpful in our own research.
• Direct contact with a staff member of Martha Stewart Omnimedia will be helpful in obtaining an interview with a public relations professional who was involved in Martha Stewart’s affairs.

• Our student status makes it difficult to obtain an interview with a public relations practitioner therefore, making first hand information difficult acquire.

• Our direct contact with a MSLO employee makes an interview with a public relations practitioner more achievable.
• The large amount of information published on the topic.

• Inability to contact a public relations professional to receive an opinion about how the Martha Stewart case was handled by MSLO.

Strategies for this case study:
• Obtain detailed research about the topic through many online databases, books, and interviews with public relations professionals.

Steps Taken by MSLO:

Strategies employed by MSLO beginning in 2002 and continued through 2007:
• Connect the Martha Stewart name with quality and reliability.
• Create a softer image and allow her audience to see a more vulnerable side through the use of: personal statements and outward emotions.
• Continue to recognize Stewart as a trustworthy and important leader; continue to involve her in MSLO creative aspects by creating a position for her within the company.
• Continue to enforce the support of Stewart’s company, MSLO, by issuing statements and personal quotes by top executives within the company.


• Martha Stewart had an already developed a fan and consumer following.
• Strong brands that many relied on for use in their everyday lives.
• The backing of many of the companies that sold her products.
• Stewart’s celebrity status provided many media outlets to implement strategies.

• Some media outlets were portraying Stewart negatively.
• Stewart’s image at the time of the accusations did not portray her as a very humble individual.
• Stewart’s personal legal matters were extremely out of character for the persona she portrayed as a celebrity.
• Stewart’s celebrity status would make cause fans to show no empathy towards her cause.

• Many media outlets were interested in the story making it easy for MSLO to spread their messages.
• Martha Stewart’s vulnerability during the time of her trial and imprisonment allowed for the reshaping of her image.
• Because of Stewart’s publicity through her trial audiences were interested in hearing all news concerning her.
• Media outlets were willing to conduct interviews with Martha allowing her to display a more humble persona for all to see.

• Some media was portraying Stewart unfavorably.
• Fans and consumers would be unperceptive to Martha’s new image because of the media’s focus on her legal matters.
• Companies who had previously supported MSLO brands would no longer support them.
• Stewart herself would be uncooperative in matters that concerned her legal problems and, continue to further damage her image.

Tactics by MSLO:
• Form partnerships with companies who are considered to be reliable; reinforcing the reliability of MSLO: ex. partnership with KB Homes.
• Creating a new position for Stewart within the company allowing her to continue to exercise her creative talents show her dedication to her products.
• Maintain Stewart’s visibility by creating outlets for her to reach her public: Martha, new television show beginning in 2005 after her release from prison.
• Issue personal statements from Martha and allow her to interact with her customers: television shows, radio shows, personal statements etc.
• High ranking company officials recognizing the need for Stewart’s continued contributions to the company as necessary for its survival: personal statements and creating the position of Founding Editorial Director.

• Many new media outlets developed over the past several years including: Martha Stewart’s “Apprentice”, Martha, Body + Soul magazine, Everyday Food magazine, Martha Stewart’s Home Entertainment Library and, Martha Stewart Living radio channel, partnership with KB Homes, and, paint colors partnership with Lowe’s among other things.
• Dramatic increase in stock value in the third quarter 2006 with revenues growing 48 percent to $61.1 million.
• Success of Martha: show has been sold in more than 90 percent of the country for the 2006-2007 season.
• Continued creation of Martha Stewart lines.

• The rise in MSLO stock prices.
• The success of Stewart’s television series, Martha.
• The Martha Stewart brand name’s continued partnerships with other companies.
• The continued success of MSLO magazines.
• Favorable media coverage of Stewart.

Our Analysis:

This case study, The Rise, Fall and, Rise Again of Martha Stewart, has outlined many important aspects in crisis management. The public relations professionals at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia were successful in their strategy of keeping the Martha Stewart image clean-cut and well-bred. The company’s initial reactions to the allegations never suggested they suspected any fault in Stewart. Their attention to detail and, never ending efforts of separating Stewart’s personal legal matters from her company and line of products in the end allowed for the Martha Stewart image to be relatively unscathed. Their use of all vehicles, television, print, radio, internet, and public promotion through partnerships; pushed the Martha Stewart brand on the public and reinforced its integrity.
MSLO’s quick reaction to the matter resulted in not much time for the media or consumers to form negative opinions of Stewart. Constantly humanizing Stewart and allowing her to reach out to her public was necessary in allowing her to keep her integrity as a person and as a brand. The quick reaction made by the company to clean up Stewart’s mess was ultimately what saved her. If this issue had not been addressed immediately Stewart would have been seen as merely another rich entrepreneur getting what they deserved however; this was not the case and Martha Stewart and her brands are still seen today as American staples.

Current Information:

Throughout all of Martha Stewart’s personal troubles over the last four years there has been one ally that has stood by her; Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. Encompassing the many aspects of what Martha Stewart, the brand name, has become from her cookbooks to her television show, MSLO has supported their leader and former CEO from the beginning of her troubles in 2003 and continues to do so in 2007.
• Recognizing and establishing from the start that Martha Stewart’s legal problems with insider trading were in no way in regards to MSLO, the company chose to use the situation to strengthen their brand image.

Statements released by the company continually recognize Stewart’s contributions to society and her efforts towards improving the quality of life for many. The company humanizes Stewart and enforces to the public that her mistake was not meant to harm MSLO or any of their customers. MSLO continually pledges their alliance to Stewart and her quality products and creative ideas. New CEO of MSLO, Sharon Patrick, issued a statement on March 15, 2004 that reinforced the above idea, “Everyone at MSLO recognizes the seriousness of Martha’s situation and is deeply saddened. However, all of us also believe that the company and our constituencies benefit most if we are able to continue to take advantage of Martha’s creative inspiration and capitalize on her prodigious skills and experience in the domestic arts.”
Stewart’s own statements also reinforce the fact that her actions were not in any way in connection with MSLO and, that she is deeply saddened by her inability to no longer function as their acting leader but that she is thankful for her company’s continued support and could not get along without it, “I am heartsick about my personal legal situation – and deeply sorry for the pain and difficulties it has caused our employees. I can never thank my MSLO colleagues enough for their spirit, resiliency and dedication.” (March 15, 2004) Stewart’s statements also reinforce the brand image that is connected with Stewart herself; as a personable and reliable person who, like the everyday people that her products cater too is a person who can also be vulnerable at times.

• Although MSLO was experiencing inner turmoil, declining stock value and, decreased magazine circulation the company continued to value Stewart’s ideas and opinions and founds her critical in future success of the company.

Stewart is never referred to negatively but instead, as a force that will continue to guide and inspire the company in its continued endeavors. In 2004 at the height of Stewart’s legal troubles, MSLO created a new position for Stewart after she was forced to step down from her duties as CEO; MSLO created the position of Founding Editorial Director for Stewart. This recognition by MSLO of the importance of reinforcing their positive beliefs in Stewart by enabling her to continue in her creative efforts with the company was critical in order to maintain the positive beliefs of their consumers. Throughout the last four years MSLO has continued to reinforce their belief in the leadership abilities of Stewart and have kept her at the forefront of the company. Her show, Martha Stewart Living, was put on hiatus for only one year before returning to daytime television in 2005 revamped and called simply, Martha. The new show imposed on audiences the kind hearted and likeable side of Martha, “The hour-long show will be taped live with a studio audience and feature a new programming format that allows audience members and special guests to participate and interact with Martha, (Dec 8. 2004). The new show was an important maneuver towards casting off the shadow of Stewarts personal legal matters that included a five month prison stay as well as five months of house arrest.
• Continually connecting the Martha Stewart brand name with quality and assurance; again reinforcing the trust that MSLO has in their founder’s ideas and opinions.

Although portrayed by the media as yet another wealthy CEO who got what was coming to them MSLO continued to recognize Stewart as their leader continuing to rely on her good name. In 2005, MSLO announced their partnership with KB Homes, a leading home producer, in designing communities modeled after Martha’s Stewarts own homes in Maine and New York State. This collaboration again reinforced Martha Stewart as the leading lifestyle expert, “KB Home and Martha Stewart are names that stand for superior quality and style," said KB Home Chairman and CEO Bruce Karatz,” (October 12, 2005). The support from another well-known company was also a crucial aspect to the merger and signified the confidence of outside vendors in MSLO and Stewart.
Although the years following Stewart’s personal legal problems resulted in initial damages to her company, MSLO, with plunging stock prices, the loss of over 200 jobs and, upper management reconstruction the company continually supported their founder. By portraying Stewart, as a victim instead of a criminal MSLO was able to keep the Martha Stewart brand image unscathed. Today Stewart is active in all aspects of the company although, she is still not yet allowed to resume her position as CEO. Her magazine, television shows and, outside projects such as her collaboration with KB homes are thriving. 2006 third quarter results showed that MSLO was again flourishing with their revenues growing 48 percent, improvements in all business segments and significant reductions in operating loss. "Our 2006 performance continues to reflect renewed vitality across the Company…As we approach 2007, we are confident that initiatives such as our new Martha Stewart Collection for Macy's and the re-launch of our website will provide additional growth as we execute our strategy to thoughtfully leverage our brand,” said CEO Susan Lyne (Third Quarter Results, October 31, 2006).

Current Articles:

Since being accused and sentenced for insider trading, it is obvious that Martha Stewart has been in the media’s eye. By reviewing the following 6 articles pertaining to her case, we can see additional information to how the media portrayed her and more insight to her case.

The New York Times wrote an article in March of 2004 saying that the reason for Martha Stewart’s conviction was do to a unwell known federal law called 1001 which states that lying to a federal agent, even when not under oath is prohibited. Stewart’s crimes were lying to F.B.I. agents and the Securities and Exchange Commission who were investigating her case.

In a New York Times article from 2004, reports of why Martha Stewart would want to begin serving her time before her appeals were settled. Basically the article explained that Stewart wished to “reclaim her good life.” While this article shows Stewart in a optimistic and kind way, it clearly shows that she just wants to get her sentence over with and not really accepting the responsibility, but simply getting it over with.

The New York Times reported in July of 2004 that Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum would not participate. Stewart’s lawyers claimed that the Supreme Court guidelines were “unconstitutional.”

With considerations of a reconsideration of Supreme Court sentencing guidelines, the judge that sentenced Martha Stewart had the ability to resentence her. According to an article published by the Los Angeles Times called “Stewart Wins Shot at Lesser Sentence, a ruling about sentencing was made within the court that allows the presiding judge the ability to resentence a defendant should they see fit, and if the case fell into an allotted time period. This would most likely pertain to Martha’s second half of her sentencing, the five-month period where she is serving home confinement, allowed only 48 hours a week to leave her premises and work for her company.

In an article published by USA Today in July of 2004, reporter Olivia Barker proclaimed that Stewart needed to show some humility. Blamed for pearls and a Birkin handbag, Stewart humbled her appearance to a black pantsuit and plain tote to her court hearings. The article went on to praise her for her appropriateness but then said she needed to stay away from high-end affairs. "Martha has not set a foot wrong during this whole debacle," says Simon Doonan, creative director of Barneys New York, who counts himself a "huge fan" of Stewart. "She has dressed appropriately, comported herself appropriately and, most importantly, she has been living her life."

The New York Times recently published "The Return of Martha Stewart, the Civil Case “ by Landon Thomas Jr. in May of 2006. In this article Thomas discusses how since Stewart returned from jail, she’s been, of course, in the media’s eye but in a glamorous way. However, her partner-in-crime Mr. Peter E. Bacanovic, Stewart’s personal investment advisor and stockbroker has been unemployed and penniless for the past four years. His fines could reach a maximum of $200,000, which is about three times the amount Stewart “saved” upon selling her shares.

Media Coverage vs. MSLO Statements:

The media coverage concerning the Martha Stewart inside trading allegations was for the most part very much unbiased. Most stories released covering the issues surrounding Stewart merely stated the facts of the case as they were happening chronicling, the original accusations, the trial, the sentence, the release from prison and, Stewart’s eventual reemergence into mainstream culture. However, there were articles released that portrayed Stewart in a more negative light, featuring individuals who claimed the CEO, “got what she deserved.” In an article released by the San Francisco Chronicle in March of 2004 entitled, "Fans react to verdicts with outrage and delight / Many figured Stewart's celebrity status would get her off the hook,” a patron of Stewart, Donna Bandelloni, an investment adviser from San Rafael, is quoted as saying, “You don't get special treatment because you're famous. It's a message to people of wealth and power that they'll be held accountable."
Although, many in the nation did hold negative sentiments towards Stewart for her actions there were also articles released that portrayed Stewart as a victim claiming, that she was merely targeted because of her status as a female figurehead in American business. In an article released by the New York Times, in September of 2002, entitled,” Why the Rush to Find Fault in Women? ," Vicky Lovell, a study director for the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington, is quoted as saying, “There still is a lot of old-fashioned, antiwoman sentiment that causes people to interpret women's behavior differently than they would interpret the same behavior from a man. So a man selling his stock might be a good forecaster of the stock market. A woman selling her stock is unscrupulously taking advantage of insider information.''
These messages released by the media are the messages that mirrored those of Stewart’s company, MSLO. Statements released by the company immediately conveyed to the public that Stewart’s personal legal matters in no way were meant to compromise MSLO business objectives or harm any of her employees or consumers. Although Stewarts legal troubles did put her in jail for five months, on house arrest for another five, resulted in her losing her title as CEO of MSLO, caused an initial plummeting of MSLO stock prices, and the loss of jobs for over 200 MSLO employees the company, continued to support their leader. Many of the statements and news releases between 2004 and 2005, the height of Stewart’s legal troubles, reflected her company’s continued support for and belief in their leader.
In a statement released on September 15, 2004 the company said, “The Board of Directors, management and employees of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. are fully behind Martha and her courageous decision. We look forward to the time when she will be back, using her special gifts to help us make homes more beautiful, more comfortable and more joyful for homemakers and families everywhere. Until then, Martha knows she can count on all of us to continue to do what she has taught us so to do so well: inspire, teach and bring quality products to the millions of readers and customers who look to us every day for hot-to ideas and merchandise they can use in their own lives. Her standards for excellence will continue to guide everything we do.”
Stewart’s personal remorse was also many times reflected in MSLO news releases in an effort geared toward humanizing Stewart and reminding the public that she was still the same kind-hearted Martha Stewart that they were all familiar with. In a statement released on May 18, 2004 in regards to her show Martha Stewart Living being put on hiatus, while Stewart served her five-month prison sentence, Stewart is quoted as saying, “I am deeply sorry that is has become necessary for the show to go on hiatus until my personal legal situation is resolved. Words cannot convey my appreciation and admiration for the skills and dedication of our talented television employees…I also want to express my gratitude for the continuing support of our millions of dedicated viewers all of the country, and look forward to rewarding their patience and loyalty in the future.”
The forward looking mindset, continued support of MSLO for Stewart and, Stewart’s own humility concerning her legal matters has allowed the company to rebound from its original shortcomings. Allowing Stewart to outwardly apologize kept her humanized and reinforced MSLO strategy of keeping Stewart in the limelight. Never letting Stewarts image of the proper housewife and entertainer die, through constant promotions including, a new talk show, magazine, radio show and, partnerships among other things has kept Martha Stewart as a prominent figurehead in American business as well as in American homes. Keeping Stewart in the public eye is and was a necessary in order to show her perhaps skeptical audience that she still is the kind-hearted Martha Stewart that everyone knows and loves.

The Rise Again: Stewart Shows Viewers She is Moving On

Upon evaluating this case study, we found multiple lessons to be learned. This case is a clear example of a wrongdoing, a falter and a recovery. What we can specifically learn, as young PR professionals is the process of this recovery. When dealing with a high profile, such as Martha Stewart and her empire of wealth, it is clear that certain strategic steps become necessary in restoring an image. Though this is an obvious example of a high-end entertainment figure, these same crisis-control practices can be manipulated for a small firm or non-profit organization as well.

For example, Martha Stewart’s team used tactics such as her books as a way of restoring multiple levels of her fame. One way to adhere to the public is through an appearance of humanity and wholesomeness. What better way to get back to a good, nurturing manner than to put out a fresh cookbook? By returning to her roots of publications, Stewart was able to show the public that she was starting anew by incorporating exactly what made her famous in the first place, her talent for homemaking.

A second tactic employed was returning to her show and publication. By resuming her role as a television personality, Stewart showed her dedication to getting her life back on track. At this point she had admitted her defeat and moved on with her life. Stewart also expanded her line of home furnishings to other major companies besides K-Mart. This wider range of product placement was key because it expanded her buying audience. At this point, Stewart could literally not afford to only have one store carrying her name.

Stewart made many public appearances after serving her time in jail. For instance, she appeared on NBC’s The Today Show for homemaking contributions. This was a major tactic as well because she, once again, was right back in the public’s eye.

Stewart simply was not afraid to get back to work. She didn’t shy away from the public after her sentence but more embraced the possibilities of starting anew.

How does this compare?

When looking at other companies that have fallen into investment scandals, it’s clear that not all of them come out on top.

Who: Strong Opportunity Fund and Strong Capital Management company founder Dick Strong
What: Market Timing Scandal- jumping in and out of mutual finds to make fast money
Profit from the scandal: $600,000 over several years.
Result: Dick Strong resigns, lifetime ban from securities industry and paying 60 million in
Now: longtime manager of Strong Opportunity Fund, Dick Weiss took over the company and
attempted to boost morale and business, later sold to Wells Fargo.

Basically, by observing this defeat for Strong Capital Management, we can see that by simply taking the person out of the picture (i.e. Resignation) it is clear that certain aspects are unrecoverable. Although the business is on the rise once again, it’s carrying the name of the downfall.

PR professional Interview:

For out outside approach we interviewed Financial Journalist Jeff Benjamin, senior editor of investment news for Crane. We determined that he would be a key person to speak to since he is involved in communications as well as investment.

Question: What are your thoughts and opinions on how the Martha PR people handled the case?

Answer: Personally, I did not know Martha’s case was still under appeal when she started her jail sentence. I’m not a lawyer, but that doesn’t even make sense to me. Why start a jail sentence if you believe there’s a chance the ruling could be overturned on appeal. I did not follow the trial closely, but was familiar with the circumstances leading up to the trial and I think Martha completely botched her initial public defense by suggesting she had not participated in any insider trading activity. Her initial public defense that she had a stop-loss order in place looked like a bad lie. I think her initial reaction to the charges hurt her public image badly.

*Explanation: STOP-LOSS ORDER:
Martha Stewart knows nothing if not etiquette, so when it came out that she had sold her nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone on Dec. 27, the day before the company announced the FDA would deny approval to its cancer drug, Stewart had a ready explanation: She claimed that she had arranged with her broker in November to sell the stock if it dipped below $60. (Vinzant)

Vinzant Carol. Does Martha Stewart’s Story Make Sense? MONEYBOX: COMMENTARY ABOUT BUSINESS AND FINANCE. HTTP://WWW.SLATE.COM/ID/2067318/

Question: What was her BEST comeback tactic? We've examined such tactics as her releasing a cookbook within months of her release from jail and returning to television with her new show that is more focused on interacting with audience members. The new show is called simply "Martha" while the previous was "Martha Stewart Living."

Answer: As comebacks go, you would have to say someone being paroled from jail has her work cut out for her. But this is Martha Stewart we’re talking about so I don’t think most people expected her to retire to her Connecticut horse farm. Hitting the decks running was key. It showed her fans and her company’s shareholders that life goes on and the empire is still solid, if not stronger, perhaps even sporting a few jailhouse tattoos.

Questions: Do you feel it was a good move for her PR team to keep her as such a central image and predominant part of her company while she was receiving negative press and feedback from viewers and her fans? For instance, was it good that she was kept as a figurehead for her company though she was being portrayed negatively throughout newspapers and on television?

Answer: I’m not sure there was any option beyond keeping Martha as the center of the business, even if figuratively. She is the company. It would be similar to Oprah going to jail. Either she remains the symbol of the company or the company fades away. We saw some of that in the mutual fund industry during the insider-trading and market-timing scandals of a few years ago. Strong Funds in Milwaukee was caught up in the mix when founder Dick Strong was found guilty. He didn’t go to jail, but immediately resigned. Within a year the company was sold to Wells Fargo. The scrutiny on corporate executives these days is such that they need to be squeaky-clean all the time. And when the company executive shares his or her name with the company, that rule is doubly important. With that in mind, it makes you wonder what the hell Martha was thinking when she started trying to lie her way out of trouble.

Works Cited:
Berenson Alex. "There's a Reason Your Mother Told You Not to Lie. " New York Times [New York, N.Y.] 7 Mar. 2004, Late Edition (East Coast): 4.14. National Newspapers (27). ProQuest. 18 Feb. 2007

Hamilton Walter. "Stewart Wins Shot at Lesser Sentence :[HOME EDITION]. " Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, Calif.] 19 Mar. 2005, C.1. Los Angeles Times. ProQuest. 18 Feb. 2007

Hays Constance L.. "Stewart Loses in Attempt to Affect Sentencing. " New York Times [New York, N.Y.] 16 Jul 2004, Late Edition (East Coast): C.4. National Newspapers (27). ProQuest. 18 Feb. 2007

Judge Allows Martha Stewart To Begin Serving Prison Term. New York Times [New York, N.Y.] 22 Sep. 2004, Late Edition (East Coast): C.4. National Newspapers (27). ProQuest. 18 Feb. 2007

Martha Stewart.

Thomas Jr. Landon. "Stewart Deal Resolves Stock Case. " New York Times [New York, N.Y.] 8 Aug. 2006, Late Edition (East Coast): C.1. National Newspapers (27). ProQuest. 18 Feb. 2007

Thomas Jr. Landon. "The Return of Martha Stewart, the Civil Case. " New York Times [New York, N.Y.] 25 May 2006, Late Edition (East Coast): C.1. National Newspapers (27). ProQuest. 18 Feb. 2007

Monday, March 5, 2007

Dove Campaign for Real Beauty Case Study

By: Melinda Brodbeck and Erin Evans
Presented March 5, 2007


The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty (CFRB) began in England in 2004 when Dove’s sales declined as a result of being lost in a crowded market. Unilever, Dove’s parent company, went to Edelman, its PR agency, for a solution. Together, they conceived a campaign that focused not on the product, but on a way to make women feel beautiful regardless of their age and size.

The following summer, CFRB was brought to the United States and Canada. CRFB aimed not only to increase sales of Dove beauty products, but also targeted women of all ages and shapes. According to the CFRB website, “The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a global effort that is intended to serve as a starting point for societal change and act as a catalyst for widening the definition and discussion of beauty. The campaign supports the Dove mission: to make women feel more beautiful every day by challenging today’s stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women to take great care of themselves.”

In addition to changing women’s view of their bodies, Dove also aimed to change the beauty market. In an industry where the standard of beauty is often a size two blonde supermodel, Dove distinguished itself by using models that ranged from size six to fourteen. CRFB abandoned the conventional cynical method of portraying “perfect” women as beauty role models.


Dove commissioned The Real Truth About Beauty study as a way to explore what beauty means to women today. StrategyOne, an applied research firm, managed the study in conjunction with Dr. Nancy Etcoff and Massachusetts General Hospital- Harvard University, and with consultation of Dr. Susie Orbach of the London School of Economics. Between February 27, 2004 and March 26, 2004, the global study collected data from 3,200 women, aged 18 to 64. Interviews were conducted across ten countries: the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Italy, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina and Japan.

The study evolved out of a desire to talk to women around the world about female beauty. According to the study, “Dove knows that the relationship women have with beauty is complex: it can be powerful and inspiring, but elusive and frustrating as well. We sponsored this study in order to probe more deeply into this intricate relationship. Dove wanted to understand how women define beauty; how satisfied they are with their beauty; how they feel about female beauty’s portrayal in society; and, how beauty affects their well-being.” This was the first comprehensive study of its kind.

The following statistics are a sampling of results from the study:
• Only 2% of these women describe themselves as “beautiful”

• About 3/4 of them rate their beauty as "average"

• Almost 1/2 of them think their weight is "too high"

The previous findings are particularly the case in the U.S. (60%), Great Britain (57%) and Canada (54%).
• Almost half of all women (48%) strongly agreed (8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point scale) with the statement that: “When I feel less beautiful, I feel worse about myself in general.”

• Just 13% of all women say they are very satisfied with their beauty, 12% with their physical attractiveness, 17% with their facial attractiveness and 13% with their body weight and shape.

• The study revealed that women see beauty and physical attractiveness as increasingly socially mandated and rewarded. Almost two-thirds strongly agreed that: “Women today are expected to be more physically attractive than their mother’s generation was” (63%); and, “Society expects women to enhance their physical attractiveness” (60%).

Larry Koffler, the senior vice president of consumer brands at Edelman, maintained that the research was vital to the campaign: “Without having a foundation in the global research study, which showed that the image of beauty was unattainable, we wouldn’t have had the credibility in creating the materials, in pitching stories and being able to answer some of the folks that didn’t agree with the campaign.”

After the initial study, Dove commissioned two more studies, one in 2005 and one in 2006. The additional information furthered Dove’s research about women’s perceptions of beauty across several cultures.

The later studies revealed the following data:

• 90% of all women 15-64 worldwide want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance (with body weight ranking the highest).

• 67% of all women 15 to 64 withdraw from life-engaging activities due to feeling badly about their looks (among them things like giving an opinion, going to school, going to the doctor).

• 61% of all women and 69% of girls (15 to 17) feel that their mother has had a positive influence on their feelings about themselves and their beauty.

• 91% feel the media and advertising need to do a better job of representing realistic images of women over 50.

• 97% believe society is less accepting of appearance considerations for women over 50 compared to their younger counterparts, especially when focused on the body.

• Nearly 60% of women believe that if magazines were reflective of a population, a person would likely believe women over 50 do not exist.

• 87% of women believe they are too young to be old.


Target Audience: All women, all ages and of all sizes.


• Increase sales of Dove beauty products and new product lines

• Create dialogue, debate, and discussion about the true meaning of beauty

• Attract national TV and print media coverage

• Gain local press attention in the hometowns of models featured throughout the campaign

• Drive users to the CFRB Web site to share their thoughts and opinions about the campaign and beauty stereotypes

• Create a call to action for consumers to join the movement through website pledge that activate a donation by Dove for self-esteem awareness programs


• Dove launched a global advertising campaign in October 2004 questioning whether “model” attributes, such as youth, slimness, and symmetrical features, are required for beauty - or if they are completely irrelevant to it. The ads each presented an image of a woman whose appearance differed from the stereotypical physical ideal, and asked the reader/viewer to judge the woman's looks by checking off a box.
o “Wrinkled? Wonderful?” featured Irene Sinclair, 95, of London, England with a wrinkled face and asked: “Will society ever accept old can be beautiful?”
o “Gray? Gorgeous?” featured Merlin Glozer, 45, of London, England with a natural mane of gray hair and asks: “Why aren't women glad to be gray?”
o “Oversized? Outstanding?” featured Tabatha Roman, 34, of New York, NY a plus-size woman and asked: “Does true beauty only squeeze into a size 6?”
o “Half empty? Half full?” featured Esther Poyer, 35, of London, England with small breasts and asked: “Does sexiness depend on how full your cups are?”
o “Flawed? Flawless?” featured Leah Sheehan, 22, of London, England with freckles and asked: “Does beauty mean looking like everyone else?”

• Each ad directed readers/viewers to where they could cast their votes.

TV Commercials:
Dove aired many commercials to reach the target audience, including the following:

• Commercial aired during the Super Bowl 2006

• Commercial aired on February 2005 and had its world premiere as part of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice".

• Dove Campaign for Real Beauty (Hong Kong)

• Women can visit and cast their votes on the questions raised in the ad campaign. The website also allows women to partake in ongoing dialogue about beauty by posting to discussion boards, downloading several research studies about beauty, and hearing and reading what women around the world have to say.

• Dove placed mobile billboards in major cities. Each billboard challenged women's notions of beauty by encouraging them to cast their votes online. A featured interactive billboard, located in New York's Times Square highlighted and kept a running tally of the votes submitted for the “Wrinkled? Wonderful?” ad.

Panel discussions:
• The Campaign for Real Beauty launched in New York City on September 29 with a panel discussion about beauty. The kick-off was co-hosted by American Women in Radio and Television®, and featured Dr. Nancy Etcoff of Harvard University; Mindy Herman, former CEO, E! Entertainment Television; Andi Bernstein, Vice President, Special Projects, Oxygen Media and other media and beauty leaders

• Dove furthered the panel discussions on a grassroots level by partnering with the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, a not-for-profit educational organization that provides ethical leadership training and professional development for women, for two special weekend workshops held in Atlanta (October 8-10) and Chicago (November 12-14).

• Interviews with major television shows such as: Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Early Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View and Oprah.

The Dove Self-Esteem Fund:
• Dove established the Dove Self-Esteem Fund to raise awareness among young girls of the link between beauty and body-related self-esteem.
o Dove funds programs that raise self-esteem in girls and young women.
o In the US, the Dove Self-Esteem Fund works through the Unilever Foundation to sponsor uniquely ME!, a partnership program with Girl Scouts of the USA. Uniquely ME! helps girls ages 8-14 build their self-confidence through activities and programs.
o The Fund also supports BodyTalk, an educational program for schools in the United Kingdom and Canada.

• Establishment of the Program for Aesthetics and Well-Being at Harvard University, through a grant from Dove, which will continue to study the way we view women in the media and culture and the effect that this has on women's well-being.

• Creation of a global touring photography exhibit, Beyond Compare, Women Photographers on Beauty, showcasing diverse images of female beauty from 67 female photographers, and showing beauty beyond stereotypes.


Press Coverage
After CFRB was launched, a slew of press was devoted to the ads in the campaign. The campaign was featured and debated across both print and broadcast media. CFRB was featured on national morning shows such as Good Morning America, The Early Show, and The Today Show. Moreover, CFRB was featured on popular talk shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View, Oprah and The Tyra Banks Show. Overwhelmingly, the response of the media applauded the campaign, however CFRB was also criticized. In national and local newspapers and journals, CFRB was written about, debated and the press received responses from the public in the form of letters, online voting, and message boards. Of the 22 articles we found over a time period of 4 years (2004-2007), 17 articles covered CFRB positively, praising the campaign. Only five articles criticized the campaign.

• In the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, John Conroy applauded CFRB, saying “Thank you Dove. No, this isn't an op-ed piece from a ‘real customer’ discussing the benefits of the latest skincare line. I don't even use Dove products. But I am a fan. This is something far more serious, and real. This is about Dove's Campaign for Beauty. When did curvaceousness become the equivalent to chubby or fat?” Conroy went on to explain how body consciousness has become part of everyday life for men in addition to women. Moreover, he commented on how Hollywood starlets have evolved from voluptuous, like Marilyn Monroe, to the waifs of today, like Mischa Barton or Nicole Ritchie.

• PRWeek named CFRB the Consumer Launch if the Year 2006 in the article “Edelman and Unilever-Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty.”

• Barbara Lippert critiqued Dove’s most recent effort for Cream Oil Body Wash in a February 26, 2007 article. “Altogether, I give it three-and-a-half loofahs out of five. I guess it's a testament to how powerful the campaign has been in relaying its message so far.” Lippert was featured on The Early Show, talking about the ad. “…it goes against what everybody did for 50 years, which is make you anxious about how you look and, you know, make you think you need to be better. This is saying ‘You’re good enough.’”

• In the article “Ahead of the Curve” by Tanika White of the Baltimore Sun, White credits CFRB with starting a trend of showing average sized women in the media to change beauty perceptions. “Actress Sara Ramirez introduced the winner of a contest to create the newest Dove ad in a commercial during Sunday's Oscar telecast. On the TV hit Grey's Anatomy, Ramirez portrays Dr. Calliope "Callie" Torres, a full-figured doctor among waifish female interns. The Dove campaign appears to have started a bit of a trend. Other companies have caught on.”

• Dr. Joyce Brothers weighed in on the Dove campaign with an article in Advertising Age. In the article, Dr. Brothers presents a psychologist’s opinion on the boost that women receive from seeing ads like those featured in CFRB. “Dove helps show that we have come a long way when we no longer have to try to look exactly like every other woman who has been declared by some fashion magazine or film czar to be the epitome of beauty.”

• Molly Prior of Women’s Wear Daily called the campaign “gutsy” and chronicled the beginning of CFRB.

• In a January 12, 2007 article in Women’s Wear Daily, Michelle Edgar described the efforts of Dove in introducing Pro-Age Campaign. In the article, Edgar included quotes from the marketing director of Dove, Kathy O’Brien, describing Dove’s mission and describing the success of the campaign thus far.

• USA Today featured CFRB in an article about Dove’s 2006 Superbowl ad. Writer Theresa Howard called the ad “inspirational.”

• The article “Why Dove Ads Are So Controversial” by Susanna Schrobsdorff for Newsweek, described the controversy surrounding reactions to CFRB and wondered “Are the women in the company’s new ad campaign too big to sell beauty products, or have our minds gotten too small?” Schrobsdorff peppered the article with quotes from various sources on both sides of the debate. Furthermore, she argued if it was really the size of the models in CFRB ads or the way the ad was photographed. “While photographer Ian Rankin may have been going for a refreshing, natural look, the unretouched photos turned out to be the equivalent of full-length passport shots of women in what looks like underwear meant for jogging. One has to ask whether even celebrity beauties like Jennifer Lopez, BeyoncĂ© Knowles, or Kate Winslet would inspire the same harsh critiques under those less-than-flattering conditions.” The emails that Newsweek received following the article were printed in an online mail call supported CFRB. “Betty from Chattanooga, Tenn., writes: ‘It's high time someone starts promoting healthy women instead of sticks with imperfections airbrushed out. Women who wear sizes 6 to 12 are NOT fat…’ Christine from St. Louis writes: ‘I just read this article and am surprised that anyone would be hostile to Dove's campaign. I think it's about time that companies started embracing the reality of how women in America look.’”

• In the Lansing State Journal, gender columnist Matt Katz questioned why there wasn’t a campaign similar to CFRB intended for men. Citing that men are increasingly more self conscious about their looks, Katz maintained that “women can no longer claim a hold on vanity.”

• Bob Garfield of Advertising Age was swayed over time by CFRB. In a July 25, 2005 article Garfield criticized Dove, calling the campaign self-righteous and hypocritical. The models, he said “…are all still head-turners, with straight white teeth, no visible pores, and not a cell of cellulite…they represent a beauty standard still idealized and, for the overwhelming majority of consumers, still pretty damn unattainable.” In the article, Garfield gave the Dove ads a 2.5 star rating out of 4. In an October 30, 2006 article, Garfield seemed to have changed his mind. “From the beginning, the ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ had the makings of something extraordinary, celebrating a concept of beauty far broader than the anorexic, breast-implanted, tricked-up Barbie doll of the culture’s fantasies.” Garfield praised the viral-video released on the internet entitled “Evolution.” “…They’ve latched on to a powerful idea here and have demonstrated magnificent sensitivity in following it through.” In this review of the CFRB, Garfield gave the ad 4 stars.

• Richard Roeper, of the Chicago-Sun Times and of Ebert-and Roeper fame, included comments in a July 19, 2005 article “How come women can’t get the message: Listen!” In the article, Roeper commented that “Chunky women in their underwear have surrounded my house…I find these Dove ads a little unsettling. If I want to see plump gals baring too much skin, I’ll go to Taste of Chicago, OK? If that makes me sound superficial, shallow and sexist – well yes, I’m a man.” Readers responded by calling Roeper “an idiot,” “a Neanderthal,” and “a sexist loser.” Roeper received such overwhelming angry answers from his readers that he wrote a full article the next week clarifying his comments. Roeper included the comments written to him in response to the article and included a list of “Things I never said” but did not back off of his comments regarding CFRB, saying “I’m sorry if you’re average sized or overweight and it’s made your life more difficult. I’m sorry if you or someone you love had an eating disorder. I’m sorry we don’t live in a world where everyone is judged by what’s on the inside. I’m not sorry for what I wrote.”

• Also in the Chicago-Sun Times, columnist Lucio Guerrero devoted a column to criticizing the campaign, saying “Really the only time I want to see a thigh that big is in a bucket with bread crumbs on it…ads should be about the unrealistic, the ideal or unattainable look, for which so many people strive.” He also called Dove hypocritical, saying “The folks at Dove want us to embrace our ‘real beauty’ and love who we are no matter what we look like. If that’s the case why are they selling firming cream?”

• In response to the articles written by Roeper and Guerrero, author Wendy McClure responded with a piece called “The Fat Between the Ears” which was also featured in the Chicago-Sun Times. McClure blasted her male counterparts calling the criticism heaped on the CFRB models as “crude.” McClure praised CFRB as “an extremely well-calculated promotion for soap and cosmetic products; an effort to challenge unrealistic media images; a controversy.” She also warned that we, as a society, need to pay attention to the negative responses to campaign “as crude as they sound, and as much as we would like to brush them off as ‘part of the controversy’ or ‘typical dumb guy talk.’ Because they’re not just dumb. They’re unreasonable. And why should we have to accept them as typical?” McClure went on to describe how ads in Manhattan and in the UK had been vandalized with spray paint or stickers reading “Fat isn’t Glamorous” and “Who ate all the pies?” and urged readers to avoid dissecting the CFRB models as well as other women portrayed in the media. McClure ended by reminding women that they need not base themselves on the view of men, she writes, “And this isn't about whether men's fantasies are unrealistic or stupid or shallow or shameful. Men are certainly entitled to their preferences. Having preferences is one thing; expecting the world to cater to them is another. Men aren't obligated to consider every woman beautiful, or for that matter, to make every woman feel good about herself. But by the same token, nobody owes you a nice view, guys.”

• In an interview with, Deb Boyda, part of the ad team that put together CFRB, dismissed the criticisms, saying “"We are telling them we want them to take care of themselves, take care of their beauty," she said. "That's very different from sending them the message to look like something they're not." The article went on to interview women who have been touched by the ad: “In Chicago, woman after woman passing by a huge Dove billboard said they think the company has done just that. ‘Most girls don't have that type of body (of a model) and they know they won't get to that,’ said Gaby Hurtado, 22. ‘But seeing this they say, “I can do that.”' Boyda said besides women, dads of daughters also have offered praise for the ads. ‘They can imagine a day when their daughter has to look in the mirror and say, “You know, I have big thighs and I am not beautiful any more.’”

Press Vs. PR Message

In many of the articles written about CFRB, information and statistics on the campaign came directly from Dove, including the Dove Global Study. According to PRweek, the publicity for CFRB generated more than 650 million imprints during the summer of 2005 alone.

Of the 22 articles collected for this project:

• 18 directly discussed some aspect of an ad made by Dove for the CFRB.

• 10 had a direct quote from someone representing Dove or Unilever.

• 17 used some element of a press release to add to their story.

• 7 mentioned the CFRB website

• 6 mentioned the Dove Global Study and/or used statistics from the study.

• 17 articles covered CFRB positively, praising the campaign.

• Only 5 articles criticized the campaign.

Overall, Dove did an excellent job of controlling how their campaign was presented. Media coverage was in line with what was sent out as the message from the organization. In the five articles that criticized the campaign, only one used information from Dove. The other articles were based solely on the opinion of the author.


Commercial Competition
• The winner of a commercial competition for Dove made a guest appearance on “Good Morning America” on February 27, 2007. The 22-year-old creator, Lindsay Miller, stated on national television that doing everyday, silly things when no one is watching is what makes people beautiful. The commercial, one of more than 1,000 entries, featured Miller singing into a pink hairbrush and dancing in the shower. Miller told “Good Morning America” anchor Chris Cuomo that this is what makes people beautiful, not their outer appearance. Miller’s commercial ends with the line, “Cuz what’s better than knowing you’re beautiful, even when no one is looking? That’s real beauty. Love Dove.”

• Accompanying Miller on “Good Morning America” was “Grey’s Anatomy” actress Sara Rameriez who presented the commercial at its debut on Sunday night during the Oscar’s. Rameriez stated that “Beauty comes in many different shapes and many different colors," and goes onto explain that the campaign tells women "you are beautiful just the way you are."

Dove Pro-Age
• According to a global study conducted by Dove, nearly all women over the age of fifty would like to see a change in society’s view on women and aging. Women over the age of fifty also believe that if the media were reflective of the population, a person might not believe that a woman over the age of 50 even exists. To combat these beliefs, Dove is positioning itself as the first global beauty brand to talk to women about aging in a positive tone.

• This is the second phase of the Campaign for Real Beauty and is known as pro-age. Pro-age celebrates women over the age of fifty by challenging the idea that only the young are beautiful.

• The initiative has materialized into a global communications campaign featuring images of real women who reveal their grey hair, age spots and curves to uncover the fact that women are beautiful at any age.

• Dove has also introduced a first-of-its kind pro-age product line designed specifically to meet the needs that older women may experience in relation to their skin and hair. The packaging of the products features a larger font size and highlights active ingredients that will help maturing hair and skin.

• This phase of the campaign was born out of the fact that women over the age of fifty are under-represented in society.

• According to Dove’s recent study, “Beauty Comes of Age,” 87% of the women surveyed believed that they were too young to be old, and 91% believed that the media needs “to do a better job of representing realistic images of women over the age of 50.”

Thinness in Models
• Janice Min, editor of US Weekly, is quoted in an Associated Press article on February 5, as saying, “It amazes me, the whole world has shrunk.” She then goes on to say, “For once, an establishment has set forth that there is something wrong with this. Things may not change completely, but women may look and say, ‘maybe there’s something wrong with THEM, and not me.” This is the message of Dove, who launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004 after a study found that only 2 percent of women worldwide described themselves as beautiful.

• In the article it was almost as though Dove were being portrayed as an expert, an “establishment” that has set forth to make a change in how women view their bodies and themselves.

While the exact current information about CFRB has not yet been determined because the campaign is ongoing, here is some of the information that was evaluated after the initial launch:

• In the summer of 2005, the Dove campaign received nearly four hours of broadcast time, including more than 10 minutes on The Today Show. On that day alone, more than 60,000 people visited the CFRB Web site.

• During the summer of 2005, the campaign also secured coverage from 62 national television programs, securing more than four hours of broadcast time, including: The View, Good Morning America, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Oprah, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Early Show and The Jane Pauly Show.

• CFRB also received feature coverage in high-profile print outlets, landing the cover of People magazine. Coverage included USA Today, The New York Times Magazine and Allure. The campaign received more than 1,000 placements in print, Web, television and radio, far exceeding expectations.

• The campaign generated more than 650 million impressions during the summer of 2005.

• According to Dove, sales for the products featured in the ads increased 600 percent in the first two months of the campaign.

• As of June 2005, more than 1 million visitors had logged onto and shared their thoughts about the campaign.

• Awards
 PR Week’s Consumer Launch Campaign of the Year 2006
 PRSA’s Silver Anvil ‘Best of’ Award 2006
 Grand EFFIE Award 2006

Dr. Colleen Connolly-Ahern is an assistant professor at The Pennsylvania State University in the advertising/ public relations department of the College of Communications. She received her Ph.D. and Master’s degrees from the University of Florida. Her classroom experience includes teaching courses in advertising campaigns, advertising sales, international advertising and public relations. Before returning to the academic world, her professional background included experience as president of her own marketing communications firm, promotion manager for USA Today and managing editor for Marine Log Magazine. Through an e-mail interview, Dr. Connolly-Ahern provided her insight regarding CFRB.
“The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty has been a winner for Unilever,” Dr. Connolly-Ahern began. She went on to explain how credit should be given to Unilever for their success, “You have to give the company a lot of credit for being able to sell beauty products with the idea that a woman is already perfect the way she is, without seeming false doing it. Their messaging has been on target for their audience. They've tried to create some PR tie-ins with girls and body image. I applaud the effort.”

Dr. Connolly-Ahern has been exposed to CFRB through the classroom, as her many of her students have chosen to do focus groups regarding CFRB as part of their research for class projects. Students have found that “women seem to love the campaign.”

While Dr. Connolly-Ahern applauds the effort, for her personally, the campaign “rings pretty hollow.” She cites the fact that Unilever, the company that owns Dove, is also the maker of Axe body spray, whose campaign focuses on beautiful, scantily-clad women flocking to men who wear Axe. “If the company really cared about female body image issues, they wouldn't try to sell smelly aftershave by objectifying -- and sometimes vilifying -- women.”

She finished by saying, “Bottom line -- for the average consumer, I think Unilever has done a good job aligning its brand with the cause of celebrating everyday womanhood. But as an active consumer of corporate messaging, I think the corporation shows no real commitment to the issue of enhancing women's self-perceptions.”


Other companies attempted to capitalize on the success of CRFB. Nike attempted to mimic the campaign with advertisements such as “Big Butt” and “Thunder Thighs.” The copy for “Big Butt” reads, "My butt is big and round like the letter C and ten thousand lunges have made it rounder but not smaller and that's just fine. It's a space heater for my side of the bed. It's my ambassador to those who walk behind me... those who might scorn it are invited to kiss it. Just do it". Nike’s campaign did not fare as well and didn’t receive nearly the amount of attention as the CFRB did. Nike was seen as “jumping on the bandwagon” of CFRB’s success, but the campaign never caught on after the initial launch. Critics of the Nike ads maintained that the body parts of the women featured in the advertisements looked toned and athletic, clearly not the body parts of an every-day woman. We do not feel Nike struck the same chord as CFRB did with its core audience; therefore, it was not nearly as successful.

The PR/ marketing industry can pick up a few pointers from Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty. Dove effectively reached their target audience through their tactics and programming. As a result of their intensive research, which included surveying women across the world of different cultures, Dove was able to understand the feelings at the core of their audience. They connected on an emotional and personal level with women of many nationalities, races, beliefs, sizes and ages.

Dove had their finger on the pulse of their consumers. They entered the market at the perfect moment; women were tired of being made to feel less than beautiful in order for a company to sell their beauty products. Dove became the trendsetter, innovator and a breath of fresh air in the beauty industry. Dove challenged the industry to see women as they really are: beautiful in their own unique way. The Campaign for Real Beauty shattered the stereotype of the size zero, blonde, perfect model. CFRB made a splash; it did not enter the market quietly. Commercials, billboards and magazine ads soon had the media and households across the United States buzzing.

While we do believe that the campaign is an important first step to change the way our culture objectifies women, the campaign does have its flaws. After viewing the women in the advertisements and reading some of the criticisms of the campaign, we realized that the women chosen were still extraordinarily beautiful and would be considered above average compared to an every-day woman. The women had desirable features such as creamy smooth skin, straight white teeth and accentuated features. For example, in the Pro-Age segment of the campaign, several of the women chosen for the ads naturally looked to be younger than the target age of sixty. Furthermore, we found it contradictory that the campaign expressed the desire for society to alter their perceptions of beauty standards all the while trying to sell women products to enhance their beauty. We also agree with Dr. Connolly-Ahern’s assessment that Unilever cheapens CFRB with their hypocrisy. While making money off of women who buy into CFRB, they are at the same time making money by perpetuating the stereotype of the perfect “hot girl” in their Axe advertisements.


From Dove:
Dove global study:

Outside information:


Press Releases:§ion=news&target=press&src=InTheNews_proage§ion=news&target=press§ion=news,+07:00+AM