Dove’s “Evolution” Web Vid Wins Top Ad Award

In what’s being touted as a milestone for web marketing, the viral phenomenon Dove “Evolution” advertisement won the Grand Prix at the 54th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival this weekend.

For the three people and my dad who haven’t seen the vid: It’s a 74-second web-only affair, showing hairstylists and Photoshop artists manipulating an attractive woman into a flawless, airbrushed beauty. Its has been seen untold millions of times on YouTube and various vidshare sites. The Cannes judges awarded the top prize to “Evolution” after removing it from the corporate message category and placing it in film.

“Someday viral films, mobile phone films, should be in this category, because it’s not the television category, it’s the film category,” film jury Chairman Bob Scarpelli told AdWeek. “Maybe that would be more reflective of reality today and in the future.”

Right. Because advertising is the arbiter of reality. Get off that pony Scarpelli, it’s dead.

But the Dove spot does cap a pretty trend that’s been spiking in movies like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Phat Girlz, Real Women have Curves, and the television show Ugly Betty. If you’re an optimist, we’re riding a wave of plus-size egalitarianism. If you’re a cynic, we’ve just learned how to market better to fat women who, OMG! They buy stuff too!

The good thing about Dove’s Grand Prix award, though, is that it’s likely to help more advertisers understand that consumers’ conversations around the brand help the brand. The more people mentioning your media online — consumer-fortified media, Nielsen’s Pete Blackshaw calls it — the more traffic you get. Easy peasy.