Dove Does Beauty
Since 2004, Unilever’s ad campaign for its “Dove” brand of cosmetics and cleansers has been preaching about beauty. Not as the usual stick figure catwalk fashion meme, but with a more inclusive theme. Like males, females come in different shapes and sizes and Dove wants to tell women it’s all good.
Fantastic. Finally a more realistic form of advertising. Women everywhere have applauded this message and, much to Unilever’s delight, have been promoting Dove socially as a “decent” brand with a conscience.
But there’s more to this imagery than meets the eye and now Dove has had its pitch tweaked. “Real beauty” is now the idea and women can get it when they make the effort to tend to their looks (and of course Dove is the one to do it).
That’s not exactly a bad message, is it? I mean, we all look better when we take the time to look after ourselves, don’t we? Surely that has got to be better than promoting the model ideal as the only way to be beautiful?
Well yes… to a point. Unilever’s ad campaign is still targeting our vulnerabilities – because we all like to look good. Their pitch is continues to infer that using Dove gives you true beauty. But is that really true?
Beauty includes a great many features, and visual attractiveness is just one. Unfortunately, our society’s obsession with appearance (fueled by the “beauty” industry) is stifling our appreciation of beauty across a wider spectrum. True beauty therefore includes so much more than how you look (just as caring is infinitely more than buying the right kind of soap). The rampant obsession with looks is reducing our appreciation of beauty and its limitations are ridiculous.
So does Dove’s version of true beauty stack up? Not really. It’s an improvement of sorts, but it’s also just another ad campaign to prey on our vulnerabilities and sell soap. Real beauty is to hand all around us, open to discovery and appreciation. But then, Dove can’t sell that, can they?
Comments are closed.