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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
'Real women' ad sets new trend
'Real women' as models suggest a beauty product really works
The unusual ad campaign features girls spotted on the street by scouts
An unusual ad campaign featuring "real" women has boosted sales of a beauty product by 700%, suggesting consumers are tired of skinny models.

Lever Faberge brand Dove used six women of different shapes and sizes" to promote a body firming range.

The women, who posed in white underwear, include a musician, a TV researcher and an estate agent.

The campaign followed a poll which suggested that women prefer the natural look to unrealistic body perfection.

"I suppose the main reason for this success is that it's one of the very first advertising campaigns that actually use real women," a spokeswoman for Dove told BBC News Online.

"I think a lot of women of the general public are just fed up with seeing models with unrealistic body images that they can never achieve themselves.

And this is basically a group of normal girls that has been put together who are happy with their bodies and enjoy showing them off."

Healthy-looking stars

According to a YouGov poll commissioned by Dove, two-thirds of British women feel bad about their figure, while their confidence is lowered by stick-thin models in ads and the media.

Fifty-seven per cent of women polled said seeing more models who look more like themselves would make them feel better about their bodies.

The survey also indicated that Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones and Catherine Zeta Jones are perceived as having healthier bodies than Posh Spice or Britney Spears.

The 4m ad campaign was launched at the end of March led to a sales boom and increased Dove's share of firming products in the UK from one to six per cent.

Stella Page, a 28-year-old musician from London who features in the ads, said: "It's great to be part of something that is encouraging women to be proud of who they are, no matter what size.

"There's more to being beautiful than looking like a supermodel."

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