Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What a chick thinks of the Dove campaign

The next iteration of the "Campaign for Real Beauty" is out and the male critics are pissing all over it like there's no tomorrow. Their main point is that this is commercialism masquerading as public service because Dove products and advertising don't always live up to the "real beauty" theme, or otherwise Unilever wouldn't be selling firming lotion. That argument isn't entirely lost on me, but as men aren't the target market for this campaign, let me go on a bit. The bottom line is I'd rather see this campaign out there than not out there. Going back a few years to the Dove "Evolution" vid, I remember seeing it making me feel a bit better at my lot as yet another woman who knows she'll never look like those who grace the pages of Vogue. Even though we all know that most magazines air brush the bejesus out of the photos of models and actresses (how 'bout that Vanity Fair cover of Madonna?), "Evolution" was an actual demonstration of it, and that made all the difference. I also have been known to breathe the occasional sigh of relief in seeing those Dove print ads of what Freddie Mercury described as "fat-bottomed girls," even though I'm not one of them. It's just refreshing to see bodies that are imperfect, when 99 percent of the media images out there project otherwise. Unfortunately, since Dove began running this campaign, it's not as though the rest of the beauty world has embraced the message—with the exception of Playtex—so if Dove wants to continue to carry the torch—even if, like the Olympic one, it's somewhat tainted—than it's fine with me.


the girl Riot™ said...

I think even females have a right to "piss all over it" as it were. I think that Dove fails at promoting and extending the definition of beauty as they have set out to do.

Honestly... is that Natalie Portman in that av? And, if not, it looks enough like her for me to point out that they're still using model-pretty girls, or worse, celebrity faces.

Evolution was a nice touch, but as you pointed out, that was years ago. As the years wore on, Dove's advertising failed to live up to its concept. They aren't carrying the torch.

I say more on the Dove campaign here.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

And that’s why I asked a few females.


Original concept is fine, I get it, I liked it. But now, the whole thing seems to have devolved into just another model holding product shot, no?

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Thanks for this, ahem, ballsy post, Cathy. Have to say, I agree.

For months I walked to work through a Times Square dominated by a jumbo-tron showing women over (gasp) 40 and (again gasp) 120 pounds and silently thanked Dove for putting those images out there, bigger than life. Reality is, until a body type/age/race shows up in the media (read=advertising) it's not socially accepted as beauty. (When I first started in the business, blacks were cast for fashion only if the ads ran in "ethnic media.")

OK, OK, the Dove poolouts could be better. But c'mon guys. The fact that they're even talking social awareness is more than any other company I know of is doing. And, unless they start getting government funding, how can we expect them NOT to push product?

Anonymous said...

Thinking more about it, forget the beauty/truth issue behind it all for a sec, the attempt at yet another lame internet series bugs me. Make it cool, then I’m on board with whatever cause you wanna throw my way.

Catharine P. Taylor said...

just keep commenting. I don't really care what anyone actually says;)

MTLB--after you asked the females didn't you filter it through the prism of your studliness, therefore making it a man's opinion? HA!

Anonymous said...

Trashy scripts and bad acting always transcend gender.


HighJive said...

i loooooooooooove dove.

dove ice cream bars, that is.

Anonymous said...

As a freelancer who occasionally works at Ogilvy, though not on Dove, I was always under the impression that their strategy was based on the simple—and true—premise that it takes more soap to wash a fat person than it does to wash a skinny one. And when people use more soap, sales go up.