Dove’s social experiment films are the Nicki Minaj singles of the content marketing world. They may get mocked on occasion, but they’re built to go viral, and, oh boy, do they pack a punch.
The latest Dove release is “Legacy,” a three-minute film that follows a relatively simple premise: Five mothers write down what they like and don’t like about their bodies, and then their young daughters are asked to do the same. The lists are strikingly similar, and you witness a poignant realization sink in for the mothers—they’re passing on their self-image issues to their daughters. “She said her thighs, too,” one mother sighs, silently realizing her skinny daughter would never have put that if she hadn’t first.
Like Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches,” which went on to become the most-watched branded video of all time, “Legacy” works because it’s bound to strike a chord with viewers. Heck, I may be male, but I distinctly remember growing up with a single mother and adopting her insecurities over our chubby thighs and upper arms.
The film shows that the connection between parent and child can be positive as well. One mother thinks she smiles a lot because of her nice skin, and separately her daughter says she “like[s] her face because it’s smiley!” (Which is also just an awesome turn of phrase.) Another mother explains she embraces her big legs because they make her a strong runner, and her daughter later says that she likes her legs, too, because they’re good for running.
Of course, this ad is ripe for parody, which is probably good news for comedy troupe Above Average, which made this hilarious fake Dove video this past spring:
I’m sure that video irked some at Dove, but it shouldn’t—if your branded content is so successful and widely known that people can parody it, you’ve done something right. Dove has been committed to its Real Beauty content program for over a decade, and judging by the response to the honesty and authenticity of the videos, that commitment has a significant impact.
Now please excuse me while I go work on my irrational self-confidence. My future son needs me.