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Was Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ Commercial the Best Ad of 2013?

According to AdWeekDove's 'Real Beauty Sketches' commercial was this year's most viral ad, clocking in 4.24 million shares since its April 19 debut. It was also one of the most watched videos, with over 59.5 million views on YouTube (Dove's commercial trailed Evian's 'Baby & Me' film, which had above 66.2 million views). One more distinction for Dove's commercial coup: AdWeek just named it ad of the year, describing it as "a clever and poignant exploration of self-esteem that was as beautiful as the subjects it studied."

Though the ad clearly resonated with many millions of viewers, it also produced a fair share of vocal critics, who suggested that the film reinforces many of the same ideas (about sexism and the beauty standard) it claims to undermine.

Other people (like me) believe that ad's main problem lies not in its messaging (which is pretty standard for a commercial product), but in its taste level and believability — it's cheesy. Although there's no proof that the video is scripted, it's hard to believe that some of these lines came out of people's mouths, unprompted. ("She had nice eyes, they lit up when she spoke." "She was thin, so you could see her cheekbones.")

Best ad of the year? You decide: