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US – Hygiene and beauty brand Dove has launched a new campaign as part of the Dove Self-Esteem Project to raise awareness of young people’s precarious mental health. It addresses eating disorders, body dysmorphia, depression and self-harm, specifically looking at the impact phones and social media have on circulating toxic beauty standards.
The video starts by telling us the story of a young girl, Mary, who behaves like an innocent child until she is given a phone on her twelfth birthday. We then see a distinctive shift in Mary’s life from consuming unsolicited advice on how to get a thigh gap on TikTok to journalling self-deprecating messages and making lists of her weight goals. The video then captures Mary being treated for an eating disorder in a medical clinic before showcasing other young people sharing similar struggles.
Research from Dove’s Self-Esteem Project suggests that eight in 10 mental health specialists say social media is fuelling a mental health crisis. In an opinion piece, we previously looked at how runway models have returned to the 1990s level of thinness while demand for weight loss drugs such as Ozempic reinforces a fatphobic discourse fuelled by social media platforms – as if Millennials and Gen Z had suddenly entered their body hostility era.
Businesses targeting Gen Z should consider how their marketing strategy can retain the attention of a group riddled with anxiety and depression. Adapt your tone of voice, branding and choose the right platforms to lift your young clients’ moods