Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dove's Legacy campaign

Personal care brand Dove has kick- started a campaign to promote beauty between mothers and daughters. After their award- winning "Real Beauty Sketches" project, the Dove Legacy campaign is the next creation to boost self- confidence in women. The short film begins by asking a small group of mothers how they felt about their body. The responses were overwhelmingly negative, ranging from "my eyes are wonky" to "I have very big legs." This is relatively expected, as recent statistics have shown that 61% of women in the US, 87% in China and a staggering 96% in the UK feel anxious about the way they look. To see how this has impacted their children, the filmmakers then continue to ask their daughters the same question. Unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly, the mothers and daughters' answers were close to identical. When the mothers were asked to read out their child's list, comments such as "we both don't like our nose" and "she doesn't like her arms either" quickly made the mothers realise "she really picks up on a lot of my ways." It becomes evident throughout the film clip that the complaints mothers have about their own bodies, will soon be applied to their young daughters too. The short film clip and campaign have raised an awareness for mothers to boost their daughters' confidence, by first displaying their own self- confidence.

You can view the campaign here: 

The success of the campaign is largely due to the underlying message Dove has cleverly devised. Modelling is a psychological phenomenon referring to the imitation of an individual, in this instance the mother, by another individual, the daughter. Resultantly new behaviours and skills can be developed. The relationship between mothers and daughters is a highly researched area of psychology, due to the natural maternal instinct present since birth. A recent study by Diedrichs et at (2016) investigated the effect of a mothers' body image on their daughters self- reflected body image. It was found that mothers who participated in the Dove Self Esteem Project Website for Parents reported significantly higher self- esteem post exposure. Consequently, the daughters of these mothers also had a correlated higher self- esteem and reduced negative affect after a six week follow up. This study evidences a clear link between how a mother views their body image, and how it significantly impacts the body image of their daughter. 

The Dove campaign, along with critical research, highlights the importance of a positive female role model on a young girls' self- esteem. Such views on body image are passed down generations and can continue throughout an individual's lifetime. The take home message from the Legacy campaign encourages mothers and female role models to display self- confidence, to inspire young girls to do the same. 


                Diedrichs, P. C., Atkinson, M. J., Garbett, K. M., Williamson, H., Halliwell, E., Rumsey, N., & Barlow, F. K. (2016). Randomized controlled trial of an online mother- daughter body image and well- being intervention. Health Psychology: Official Journal Of The Division Of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 35(9), 996-1006.

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