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Is this Sephora spot strangely familiar to Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches?

As someone who avidly follows the beauty industry, spots from beauty brands definitely catch my attention. Currently on my radar is a spot by Sephora showing its support for International Women’s Day.

Sephora’s video showcases its employees, who are paired up to play a guessing game with one another. One employee holds up a card with a supposed “celebrity name”, while the other is tasked with describing the “celebrity” named on the card.

However, the activity comes with a twist and the name on the card is the of the person who is holding it.

What follows is a touching display of admiration and love of the female employees towards one another, with some even feeling touched to the point of tears when they realise the positive descriptions are of themselves.

While touching indeed for enforcing a positive messages in view of International Women’s Day, I can’t help but wonder if the themes of this spot are a little too reminiscent of Dove’s iconic Beauty Sketches spot, which went viral a few years ago.  In the case of Dove, a forensic artist was tasked to draw a sketch of the person of how they view themselves versus how others view them.

Both spots play on the idea of how an individual places less value on their sense of self (i.e. being less beautiful) as compared to how others perceive them.

Hmm, an uncanny coincidence? I pondered.

And I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

Shaun Tay, CEO of FCB KL, seconded my opinion and said the themes from both Sephora’s latest video and the classic Dove campaign are indeed very similar as both play in the same territory of emotional insecurity when in comes to personal beauty.

“Execution is a different but both drive home the same message. Dove did set the standard when it comes to what we now call ‘Social experiments’ so it will always have its fair share of brands doing homage to it!” Tay added.

Ed Cheong, executive creative director at iris Singapore however was of the view that most of the femvertising out there share similarities in terms of messaging. But that really isn’t the problem, he added.

This is because “consumers don’t nitpick the way industry professionals do”.

“Bigger question should be if marketers are really getting under the skin (no pun intended Sephora) of how women truly feel. Are these content ironically portraying them as the weaker sex?”he added.

Do you spot the similarities too? Let us know in the comments.

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