Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why I Don't Believe In Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty

If you're like me, tired of all the tricks companies play in trying to convince people to buy their product, you'll be able to relate to this post.

Years ago, Dove, a brand of topselling moisturizing soap, created an ad campaign that they say encourages women to be comfortable in their own skin and ran ads that had models who looked more average in body shape and facial features, i.e., more average-looking compared to the usual ultra-fit and gorgeous models we see in other commercials. It's called the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, a campaign that wanted to convince women to be confident and comfortable with themselves and the way they are. They even had what they called the Dove Self-Esteem Fund that downplays the Western concept of beauty of models with very little bodyfat and flawless skin in preference of being proud of however one might look, whatever shape she might be in.

Some have criticized Dove's marketing for being completely contradictory to the messages that other brands Lynx (Axe in the Philippines) and Fair and Lovely (skin whitening product marketed in different countries) send consumers. Lynx is criticized for consistently objectifying women, while Fair and Lovely is a product for women who want to do away with their dark complexion. All these three brands are owned by Unilever. While I also understand how inconsistent Unilever now appears having diametrically opposed positions depending on which kind of consumer is asking about it (be yourself for Dove target consumers, be thin and sexy for Lynx target consumers, don't be dark for Fair and Lovely target consumers ), something else became the deal-breaker for me. Actually, there are two deal-breakers.

It has become widely known, at least among more thinking circles, that despite all the confidence-building, patronizing and pandering the Dove brand has been able to do on a huge global budget, the immediate following years raised the problem that this campaign poses the following risks:

(1) the risk of completely removing the ASPIRATIONAL aspect that is important in making women spend more money on other beauty and personal care products; and

(2) the risk of turning the Dove brand into a soap brand for fat people.

How sincere was that, right?

Today Dove is back to focusing on moisturizing and price-offs, at least as far as commercials in the Philippines are concerned.

Well, now that that's out in the open, and we now know that the real beauty in Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty was actually photoshopped, I can't ask for a better nail in the coffin.

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