Dove’s Campaign for Beauty: looking at the darker side

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So the title is a little dramatic, I’ll be the first to admit it – but I recently stumbled on very interesting post by tribalinsight that made the Twilight Zone’s theme song float in my head as I was reflecting about it.

What can I say; I have a *very* active mind.

Here are some of the things tribalinsight had to say:

The issue is not whether the Dove campaign is a good or bad marketing campaign, or whether it is good for promoting the actual cause around real beauty. What has created concern amongst consumer advocates, and some marketers, is the question of how Unilever can really be sincere about promoting self-esteem amongst women and girls through their Campaign for Real Beauty, when they also produce campaigns such as those for Lynx of the “Bom Chicka Wah Wah” advertisement, as well as other advertisements, such as the one for their Lynx “Touch“.

The Lynx “Touch” advertisement is replete with, barely hidden, sexual innuendo – a man fiddles with a radio dial (while nearby, the nipples of a woman can be seen hardening through her blouse), and, later he opens a book (resulting in a woman’s blouse opening, and an ample cleavage being displayed). (…)

Simply put, it is pure and blatant hypocrisy for Unilever to objectify women in its Lynx campaign, and then claim that we should protect our children from being objectified by the beauty industry, in its Dove campaign.

I agree: it is quite hypocritical that Unilever is, in short, sponsoring two campaigns that have very different objectives. It can even be argued that the Lynx Campaign undermines what the Dove campaign is trying to achieve. Not very smart… or perhaps, the most brilliant of moves by Unilever: by developing campaigns that are damaging to the self-esteem of young girls, it is making sure that there always will be an avid audience for the Dove Campaign.

Evil, isn’t it?

I agree with tribalinsight that this doesn’t mean the Dove Campaign won’t do any good; however, it does mean that, yet again, we need to look past our noses and see the bigger picture. We need to change the system, treat the root cause of all these problems rather than each of the symptoms.

Now only to figure out what the root cause is.

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3 thoughts on “Dove’s Campaign for Beauty: looking at the darker side

  1. No…the thing is I think that the entire Dove campaign without its words is actually just promoting that no you don’t look good in your own skin and yes you do need to be airbrushed. It’s sending the wrong message to young girls who are watching it.

  2. Ok, well for instance in this one that was used for the end of year English exam in 6th grade around Montreal: I find that just showing this video to 12 year old girls is sending the wrong message because they may end up seeing themselves as a plain Jane who will never be able to look as good as the models in the magazines, rather than seeing this as an ironic film showing that models actually don’t look as perfect as they do in magazines..which doesn’t negate the fact that they need to look perfect…which is one of the many societal pressures on young women…it’s just sending the message: well, you aren’t perfect and neither are models so just learn to live with your plain Jane self.

    This one… sends messages that maybe young girls are not otherwise receiving from the media. So those young minds may get the wrong message from the video, especially since it contains a lot of inappropriate visual messages – such as inappropriate sexual images of women – that I don’t think it was OK for us to see when we were that age.

    Anyway, my only point is that the videos are trying to send a certain message, but because other messages in the media of “be thin” and “be perfect” and “be easy” or what have you are so much more salient, this video may just serve in reifying the wrong message rather than opposing it.

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