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Meet Your Church: Freckles, Fat, and Gray Hair

October 12, 2004 by

2004_10_10dovewomen.jpgLess than a month ago, during the week of September 27, Unilever’s Dove brand (soaps, lotions, etc.) launched a global marketing strategy called “Campaign for Real Beauty.” Dove did a similar plan in the U.K.; exporting it to the U.S. would be a natural fit.

The marketing campaign includes images of not-so-model-like women with a variety of features (older woman with gray hair, freckled girl, and a “generously proportioned woman” recruited from everyday America). At first glance the campaign seems a little odd because it doesn’t fit with your typical beauty commercials or ads. After a while, you realize these women are your neighbors, your friends, and your community.

For the most part, I believe the Church is spot on for this topic when it comes to marketing the people of our churches to the people not of our churches. Lets face it, we as sinners are always in need of a makeover. Becoming more like Christ is a daily challenge for our hearts and minds that soap and shampoo can’t reach.


If there is something to learn from the Dove campaign, perhaps it is to be reminded of how real people are the majority, not the minority. While I am aware of my lack of profundity in that statement, I am challenged by its implications. Real people are a real mess. And often times, real people are a lot closer to minimizing that mess because reality lives a lot closer to home.

The next time you promote your church, pay attention to who your appeal is to. What does your church look like to the community around you? Do you fit with that? I blogged about a similar topic a few months ago.

Now if only we could figure out how to get certain churches on a certain Christian television network to quit messing it up for everybody else!

On another note, the same company that owns Dove also owns Slim-Fast. That should be interesting to see how they compliment or conflict each other. Slim-Fast wants you to lose weight, Dove wants you to see your weight as beautiful.

Post By:

Brad Abare


Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it. He and his wife Jamaica live in Los Angeles with their daughter, MirĂ³.
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2 Responses to “Meet Your Church: Freckles, Fat, and Gray Hair”

  • James
    October 24, 2005

    What a great idea! When I look at my church’s advertising, I see all these smiling faces, the proper mix of races, young and old. Unfortunately, none of these people go to my church! It looks (and is) fake. I like Wal-Mart’s advertising circulars, featuring their own associates and their families.


  • JD
    November 8, 2007

    I agree with your thoughts here. The Dove campaign has been awesome, but if you dig deeper, you’ll discover that Dove is owned by the same company that owns AXE body spray, Unilver. Many of the negative images used in the Onslaught video could have been taken from an AXE commerical. It’s this kind of double talk that the church (and others) need to avoid.



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