Dove introduced the “Real Virtual Beauty” initiative, in response to its research highlighting the feelings of marginalization among 60% of the 1.3 billion women and girl gamers due to the lack of diverse avatars.
In collaboration with LOLA MullenLowe, “Real Virtual Beauty” aims to tackle this inequality from multiple angles.
The accompanying short film showcases four gamers from different backgrounds, ages, nationalities, and physical abilities. Each of them transforms into avatars that defy stereotypical conventions.
These avatars realistically depict the unique identities of the individuals, devoid of exaggerated muscles, oversized breasts, unrealistic fair skin, or extravagant hairstyles.
This initiative builds upon Dove “It’s On Us” campaign, where the brand offered to cover the costs for other companies to hire a diverse range of models.
The goal is to challenge the sexualized portrayal of women in gaming, which negatively influences young girls who spend a significant amount of time in these virtual environments.
This effort highlights the interconnectivity between the physical and virtual worlds. They influence each other’s development, and in this case, the aim is to promote positive change for the benefit of all.
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While Dove “Real Beauty” campaigns have always sparked discussion, some critics have raised concerns that this initiative undermines the fantasy element of gaming.
However, it’s crucial to consider whose fantasy is being represented. With 60% of women and girls in the gaming community feeling overlooked, insulted, or misunderstood, enhancing their enjoyment and representation seems like a wise decision, both from a brand perspective and on a fundamental human level. It’s worth noting that those who prefer more traditional fantasy depictions still have that option.
LOLA MullenLowe ECD Tomás Ostiglia explains, “As a brand that stands for real beauty, Dove knows it is not enough just to talk the talk but also needs to walk the walk by taking action.
Ideas like this not only align with Dove’s longstanding mission but also reach a younger audience, where intervention is essential to tackle the problem at its roots.”
To support the broader representation of beauty, Dove and Epic Games’ Unreal Engine have developed a training course and avatar art collection for creators.
Additionally, Dove and game-design studio Toya are launching SuperU Story, a Roblox experience that allows girls to customize their avatars.
Leandro Barreto, global brand VP at Dove, emphasizes the brand’s belief that beauty should inspire confidence rather than anxiety, both in real life and virtual spaces.
Although the gaming industry has made progress in inclusivity, there is a need to accelerate this change and challenge the narrow definitions of beauty that still prevail in the virtual world. The aim is to make a real impact on the millions of women and girls who spend their leisure time gaming.
The four gamers who have been transformed into new avatars also feature in individual clips and group advertisements, which can be viewed below:
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