In April of last year, Dove released a YouTube video that would go on to become one of the most viral videos of all time. According to data from social video measurement companies, Dove Real Beauty Sketches has garnered more than 133 million views - and counting.
The premise - a forensic artist sketches women first based on their own descriptions, then on those provided by strangers - was engaging, and made a valuable point about the way we perceive beauty. Now, Dove is taking that concept a step further with a new video that went live last week. This time around the brand tackles selfies by exploring ways in which teen girls and their mothers can use them to help redefine beauty.
Despite being granted word of the year status by Oxford Dictionary Online in 2013, the selfie isn't often portrayed in a positive light. On Tumblr, Selfies at Funerals called out people in insensitive photos until it shuttered in December; its final post featured the famed shot of President Obama taking a selfie at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, along with the words, "our work here is done." More recently, a selfie meme in which people take selfies in outlandish and sometimes dangerous situations, emerged on Twitter. SelfieOlympics already has close to 130,000 followers, many of which are at risk of being fined by the Selfie Police.
But there's an upside to selfies. Some consider them art. Actor James Franco wrote about them for the New York Times, calling selfies, "tools of communication more than marks of vanity." Photographer and Chicago native Kyle Thompson has turned selfies into stunning self-portraits, while Canadian Paul Zizka uses them to showcase the beauty of the Canadian wilderness.
Others are calling them,"tiny bursts of girl pride." Which brings us back to Dove. We can't overlook the fact that its new video is branded content - in essence, an ad - but kudos to the brand for tackling a relevant subject in a meaningful way. There is value to the selfie and this modern-day form of self-portraiture.
It's all about how you use it.