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

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.