By Laura Stampler
April 7, 2015

If you were faced with two doors to a shopping center, one labeled “Beautiful” and the other “Average,” which would you walk through?

In its latest inspiration-via-advertising campaign, Dove set up labeled entrances in Shanghai, San Francisco, London, Sao Paulo and Delhi, and filmed the results. Unfortunately, and maybe unsurprisingly, many women chose to slink by unnoticed under the “Average” sign rather than display to the world that they acknowledged their beauty. It’s all part of the company’s new #ChooseBeautiful advertising campaign, which aims to change the instinct to settle for average.

“Women make thousands of choices each day — related to their careers, their families, and, let’s not forget, themselves,” Dove said in a statement. “Feeling beautiful is one of those choices that women should feel empowered to make for themselves, every day.”

A recent survey by Dove found that 96% of women do not choose the word “beautiful” to describe how they look, although 80% said they could see something beautiful about themselves. Dove wants women to make the conscious decision to embrace that beauty and acknowledge it to the world.

The women who walked through the “average” door felt saddened by their decision. “It was my choice,” said an Indian woman, “And now I will question myself for the next few weeks or months.” But those who walked — or were dragged by their mothers — through the “Beautiful” door felt “triumphant.”

During the company’s press breakfast briefing Tuesday, attendees seems to waver when confronted with the “Beautiful” and “Average” door options. Personally, I still felt hardwired to pick the more supposedly humble option. Would embracing beauty seem pretentious? Or would I feel less vulnerable than if I tried to sneak out unnoticed under the “Average” sign?

Embracing inner and outer beauty can be a difficult adjustment to make.

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