Friday, October 05, 2007

Video Friday: Marketing genius

The marketing machine behind Dove is really quite brilliant. If I have a choice of where to spend my money, of course I'm going to give it to the folks who seem to do the least evil in the world.

UPDATE: Nikita reminds me that just because someone tells me what I want to hear doesn't mean they're my ally. Point taken!


Nikita said...

Unfortunately their parent company makes Axe with all of those horribly sexist ads:

Kelly O said...

Good reminder!

molly-o said...

I noticed one of their print ads the other day, I think it was for shampoo or conditioner or some other hair product, so of course the model had lovely hair -- and crows feet! She was probably in her late 40s/early 50s.

I was favorably impressed by that, not only because it's just so unusual to see women that age in ads for anything other than wrinkle cream (in which case they'd airbrush out those crows feet) but also because it wasn't one of their generic "real bauty" ads, where the diversity of the women is the point of the ad -- it was just a regular old ad for hair-care products, there was nothing in the copy saying, "hey, give us credit for using an older model."

One thing to consider -- if the Dove ads featuring "real beauty" actually work and bring in our dollars, then they'll persist with the campaign, and other companies will copy the campaign, and the end result will be greater diversity in media images.

TFO said...

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. i love that quote.

:: Suzanne :: said...

love it - stole it - linked it back to you

thx for your kind words on my blog :)

radical mama said...

I love the video too, but what Nikita said it so true. It really counters much of the good that dove is trying to do. Plus, they sell cellulite cream, so they definitely have a stake in our low self-esteem. Bah.

Daniel said...

I like the video too...but even the kids in the video seem a little on the "impossibly perfect" side of things...

Axe body wash is totally weird by the way. I didn't know you could buy ostensibly butch body wash...but Axe is it.

Kelly O said...

All kids alternate between impossibly perfect and perfectly impossible.

Daniel said...

I ran across this story about the Dove/Axe conflict:

Consumer Group Accuses Home and Beauty Products Company Unilever of Ad Hypocrisy: Conflicting Spots Allegedly Praise then Shame Women

A consumer group accused Unilever of hypocrisy this week for running conflicting advertising campaigns—one for Dove that praises women and their natural beauty and one for Axe that the group said "blatantly objectifies and degrades" them. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood launched a letter-writing effort on its website and demanded that the company pull ads for the Axe line of grooming products for men, which one online pitch says makes "nice girls turn naughty," the LA Times reports.

Unilever shouldn't be commended for Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" while promoting products with a starkly different message, said Susan Linn, the consumer group's director and an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "The campaign says they're going to help girls to resist a toxic marketing environment but they're creating that environment as well," Linn told Times writer Alana Semuels.

Unilever spokeswoman Anita Larson said the Axe ads were clearly spoofs. The Dove campaign is serious, she said, and "dedicated to making women feel more beautiful. Each brand effort is tailored to reflect the unique interests and needs of its audience," she said.

Kelly O'Keefe, a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University AdCenter, said Unilever was "playing with fire" if it was thinking that the divergence "wouldn't be picked up on at some point." "When you take a stance," as Dove has with its anti-beauty industry marketing, "it does raise the game," O'Keefe told the Times.

Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" has been extolled by women's groups and the advertising industry for its message that the beauty industry sets unrealistic standards for women. The company runs the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, a nonprofit that seeks to educate girls about a "wider definition of beauty." The Axe line's U.S. website, on the other hand, says that women turn into "lust-crazed vixens" around men wearing Axe, whose fragrance "acts upon the female libido and stimulates the clothing-removal section of the female brain."

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, affiliated with Harvard University, is a coalition of healthcare professionals and advocacy groups. On its website, it asks people to send Unilever a form email or letter urging the company to "end your sexist and degrading advertising for Axe grooming products."