Society talks a lot about the dangers of bullying in its many forms, but there is one kind of bullying that rarely gets the same level of attention as others: self-bullying. While we discuss the negative effects of talking down to and ridiculing others, we have built a focus around bullying that is so heavily concentrated on how one’s words impact another. What we don’t consider is the extent to which one’s own thoughts and self-criticisms play into the bullying dialogue.


Dove’s latest ad campaign seeks to change this reality, highlighting the issue of self-bullying. They promote a replacement of self-images too often tainted by negativity with positive ideas about ourselves and our bodies.


The #OneBeautifulThought campaign was created by Dove France. They started by asking women to record the negative thoughts that they have about themselves and their bodies throughout the day in a journal. These journals were then turned into scripts for actresses to recite out loud in a public setting for the women and others to hear aloud.


The ad captures the powerful reactions of each woman hearing her own negative thoughts about herself spoken aloud back to her. Suddenly listening to these criticisms coming from someone else, the women begin thinking more critically about the words, deeming them “violent” and “unjustifiable.” Dove concludes the campaign with the powerful statement: “If it’s not acceptable to say it to someone else, why say it to ourselves?”


The ultimate goal of the campaign is to change how women see and speak to themselves on a regular basis. It identifies the damage that our own negativity can have on our self-esteem, and hopes to encourage women to transform their ugly thoughts about themselves into beautiful ones.


Self-bullying is not the only thing that Dove has managed to shed some light on with this campaign. #OneBeautifulThought has also allowed the company to make a major statement on the role that marketing, brand presence, and brand influence can play in making critical changes on both a consumer and human level.


Advertising is essentially concerned with promoting brands and marketing products. Dove proves the power of pairing those goals with strong statements about damaging societal issues to change them for the better.


Can you think of some other examples of companies and brands that have used their presence and marketing influence in the past to tackle larger social issues? Share your favorite ones with us below, or tweet me @tamarahoumi