By Victoria Sobolev

Over the last several decades, the media has been accused of contributing to the rise of eating disorders. Eating disorders were perceived to only affect white upper-class women between the ages of thirteen and twenty-five. However, recent studies have shown that eating disorders afflict both genders and even transcends ethnic and age boundaries.

According to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, studies show that seven million women and one million men suffer from eating disorders. It is estimated that men with bulimia or anorexia range between 10-15%. Ethnicity plays a role in eating disorders as well. Minorities’ rates of eating disorders are considerably almost identical for the rates white women.

In light of these upsetting statistics and actions, Dove has created the advertising campaign, “ The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” to encourage women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities to embrace their bodies. Since 2004 through 2007, Dove designed unique ways to continuously promote the idea of the true definition of beauty. Each year these campaigns encouraged women from all walks of life to accept themselves as beautiful.

While the Dove campaign has included women of various demographics, the campaign has not made a great effort to include men and older women in their fight to discourage absurdly thin media portrayals. Men and older women are equally and psychologically affected by advertisements that depict unrealistic portrayals of the human body. However, they are not seen as a target audience to some advertisers, since they are not commonly viewed as victims of eating disorders.

With more companies advocating the ideas of true beauty, Olay has also produced a campaign to promote women to have confidence. Although Olay has not created a campaign that is as successful as “The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”, Olay has been able to show solidarity and empathy with its slogan, “Love the Skin You’re In.” Olay’s initiative promotes self-love and encourages women to embrace everything they perceive to be flawed. This, all the while, is emphasizing that the key to achieve this level of happiness is through purchasing their product.


Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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