We don’t easily forget the nursery rhymes we were taught in school. We have recited them so many times in our formative years that the words rush in even if we hear them decades later.
So when Dove’s latest advertisement first begins to play the tune of ‘Chubby cheeks, dimpled chin..’, it almost calls for the viewer to sing along.
The beauty product’s campaign says it seeks to “challenge the beauty stereotypes society hands down to impressionable young girls,” in the YouTube description accompanying the three-minute ad produced in collaboration with Culture Machine’s lifestyle channel ‘Blush’.
And it does so powerfully through a montage of clips featuring India’s women athletes training to the soundtrack of kindergarten children singing the familiar rhyme.
Unlike the ‘very fair’ cherubs with ‘curly hair’, ‘eyes so blue’ and ‘rosy lips’ described in the song, these women are bloodied, bruised, tanned, covered in sweat and mud as they play hockey, wrestle, hurl a shot put, try complicated gymnastic manoeuvres.
The ad builds up in tempo as it progresses, but ends abruptly with the kindergarten teacher calling out the last line of the song - “Is that you?” - to which the athletes reply with a resounding ‘No’.
The ad acknowledges the familiarity associated with the song but forces the viewer to take a closer look. It “... makes you wonder if this verse is the first seed of a singular beauty ideal in the minds of young girls.Through this video, we hope to fuel a conversation that challenges the beauty stereotypes society hands down to impressionable young girls,” the makers say.
Dove’s social media campaign called #ChangeTheRhyme has been mostly well received by viewers on the video sharing platform. It has, as of Wednesday evening, been viewed nearly 600,000 times on YouTube since it was posted on August 8.
“I love how they focus on personal achievements, dedication and passion in order to redefine beauty instead of just filming a mole in creative lighting,” viewer Kloe Ness commented.
“So many feels, so many goosebumps. Hats off guys, its so meaningful and awe inspiring,” Suruchi Masih, another viewer, said.
This not the first time Dove has attempted to break the stereotypes about beauty. In 2013, its Real Beauty Sketches campaign tried to show women that they are more beautiful than they think they are by comparing self-descriptions to those of strangers.