I've admired what Dove (yes, the soap people) is doing with their worldwide “Campaign for Real Beauty” to nurture the self-esteem of teen girls. Their viral video called “Onslaught” will knock you over.

Now they've joined with Seventeen in a survey that found 91% of teen girls feel anxiety or stress about some part of their looks when getting ready each morning. And 51% of teen girls said they knew they should like their bodies better — but frequently faltered under cultural pressure to be thinner.

So Seventeen's November issue will launch a “Seventeen Body Peace Project,” which encourages girls to sign a “Body Peace Treaty” with vows such as: “Never blame my body for the bad day I'm having,” and “Remind myself that what you see isn't always what you get on TV and in ads — it takes a lot of airbrushing, dieting, money and work to look like that.”

Said Seventeen Editor Ann Shoket, “We're facing a teen crisis in teen body image. While it's our goal to help girls look great, our mission is empty if they don't feel good too.”

I'm impressed with this effort. I know some will carp that these sponsors make money off of teens' “need” to beautify. But there's no denying the power of the positive message this campaign can deliver. Short of shutting down the publishing and cosmetics industries, this effort at social responsibility is as good as it gets.

What nonprofit could muster comparable resources to deliver this message?

The campaign is described in this Ad Age article.

Issue and social marketers, watch and learn.

Ann Shoket, you deserve a bonus … I'm not sure about a raise yet!


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