Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Viral Video: Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” Web-Only Commercial Sets Off Debate


It’s impossible to watch this Web-only commercial from Dove, called “Real Beauty Sketches,” and not have a reaction.

The shorter version has already attracted close to 30 million views on YouTube. It’s part of Unilever’s long-running advertising campaign to focus on real-looking women over idealized models for its Dove line of skin-care products. This takes it a step further, with a sketch artist making pencil portraits of various women without seeing them, but listening to them describe what they look like. The artist then made another drawing based on descriptions of people who have just met them.

Guess which one is more attractive? It’s a pretty devastating and very manipulative reveal, with the tagline: “You are more beautiful than you think.”

The campaign has attracted both fans and critics — it sure hits home, whatever side you are on — but you should judge for yourself if it works or not:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik