4.16.2008

by request! a rant on dove.

the post. the culprit: dove. the question: relevancy. the verdict: fail.

but you knew that already.
the question is truly, Why exactly does Dove fail at life?

it's not that it was a flawed campaign concept, as some believe.
i think that a campaign for real beauty, and expanding definitions of beauty, is admirable, useful, and, moreover, achievable through marketing if done well. MultiCultClassics recaps and quotes Adbusters, "In this case the message is right on—it’s time to end the propagation of unrealistic ideals. But the intention—to somehow bolster women’s self-esteem while selling them firming lotion—is the problem."

i am not sure this is entirely true.
all women--and i'd argue all humans--want to feel beautiful.
beautiful means confident, which in turn leads to desirability and acceptance, which leads to the ultimate goal of communication and connection.

widening the standards to include more people into that circle of beauty is important to raise confidence in a culture which places so much emphasis on appearance. rather than change the body to fit the mold, shift the mold. that much we can agree our culture is due for.

there are a number of ways people are doing this.
for a long time, i supported--though no, i didn't model for ;)--Suicide Girls for their political stance in their own alternative industry. i then stopped supporting them because of their legal practices, but that's beside the point right now.

if Dove wanted to expand definitions of beauty and sell body lotion, i think it's possible. if you want to tell me that my body type and my facial structure fits into a new definition of beauty--and you make me believe it--i may just support you enough to buy that lotion that consequently makes my skin silky smooth (i actually do purchase one Dove product, namely this). point being? sell me on the new beauty concept, if that's what the campaign is about, and you'll sell me on the product because you'll be something i believe in.

that means depict in your ads: large girls, multiethnic girls, tattooed and pierced girls, nerdfabulous girls, feminine girls, girls with hard bodies, girls with legs for days, girls with big hips, girls with broad shoulders, girls with 'masculine' faces, girls like flowers, girls like linebackers--oh wait, i mean, ALL KINDS OF GIRLS. hey, all of them may buy lotion. especially if they play rugby. ;)

do not show me, as you are, these girls who still look like models and who don't resemble anyone i've ever met before in my life. give me girls i want to take a second look at. give me online profiles for my favourite dove girls. let me get to know her style, her hardships, and her personal beauty.

bottom line is you can't campaign for real beauty unless you actually embrace it.
through embracing it, i do think there is product support and monetization.
but if your concept and campaign don't match up--as they currently don't--that's what's causing the distrust.

because ultimately, Dove is more concerned with pushing product than pushing the importance of pluralizing beauty--and that's the failure.

1 comment:

TheDesignDiva said...

Although in theory I agree with the concept of picturing real people in ads, we have to remember that people don't really think of themselves as they truly look and therefore do not want to see actual reality.

A classic example is the image of the slovenly, overweight guy who looks in the mirror and sees a sexy stud of a man.

People want to see someone similar to themselves, yet prettier and more attractive than in the real world—how they picture themselves in their own minds.