Thursday, October 11, 2007
Unilever can't have its vixen and decry it too
OK, this was bound to happen. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has gotten on Unilever's case about the current campaign for Axe (above), saying that it "degrades young women." But it doesn't stop just with asking the company to pull the campaign. The group has made sure to put the disconnect between the Axe advertising from Bartle Bogle Hegarty and the new "Onslaught" effort for Dove—which decries media images of women—front and center. Unilever's response to this, predictably, is that the Axe ads are spoofs, but, seriously, folks, what a cop-out. How long are educated people supposed to buy that explanation, as though the pre-teen girl portrayed in "Onslaught" would see one of the Axe ads and even understand what a spoof is? This issue is going to put Unilever in a conundrum it can't easily squeeze out of, and my guess is that the company is eventually going to have to decide one way or the other where its best interests lie. It's great that on a corporate level Unilever decided several months ago that it would stop using women under size 2 in its ads, but if that woman is depicted in an Axe commercial writhing around while meeting the future in-laws, it doesn't matter what size she is.