Dove Soap and The Power of Self-Deception


Dove (yes, the soap brand) has an interesting project that, aside from a logo, is not even really an advertisement. It is a unique project to reveal how poorly women see themselves and the critical nature of perceived beauty.

The project is called Real Beauty Sketches and utilizes FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora, who has drawn over 3,000 criminal sketches.

Face of a beautiful woman

In the project, Zamora uses only the verbal description several women provide of themselves to draw their likeness.  He then makes a second drawing of each woman based on only the verbal description provided by someone who has only recently met each woman.

I see this as a great example of a broader issue. We all fool ourselves on our appearance, knowledge, decisions, and a host of other thoughts. It’s a human thing to do, but without awareness it also limits us. While Dove is focusing on how women fail to see their own beauty, the project reaches into the heart of how we all fool ourselves, whether man or woman. Zamora’s work provides a very visual example of women and their self-deception of appearance.

None of us are followed around by a forensics artist to help us overcome our cognitive distortions, the little lies we convince ourselves are reality. But like the women in this project, opening our minds is the beginning of powerful self-awareness.

I encourage you to watch this video, then take a moment to consider the things, good or bad, that you feel about yourself. Everyone has a list, and the list is the place where awareness grows.



Glenn S. PhillipsGlenn S. Phillips is the author of the book Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself.  You can email Glenn directly at

Glenn is also the president of Forte’ Incorporated, a consulting firm that works with business leaders to understand and address the often hidden technology and business risks lurking within their organizations.

© Copyright 2013. Glenn S. Phillips, Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111



About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.