As brands are becoming more culturally aware, more empathetic advertisements have appeared in the media. Recently, there was a notable Dove campaign that received negative reviews, mostly in the form of tweets. This may surprise some of the advertising community, because Dove is known for its revolutionary body-positive content.
Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign featured its classic body wash in different shaped bottles representative of the variation of body sizes of women and men; mostly targeting women. The campaign is no longer available on Dove’s website, but screen captures of the two-week old spread still haunt the web.
Accompanying the diverse bottles were descriptions of each shape, complete with a name to identify with. It appears these personas were meant to appeal to those that are insecure about their body and empower them to embrace what they have.
The public was quick to comment on these bottles, poking fun at Dove’s attempt to connect with their feminine market. Parodies can still be viewed on Twitter and Youtube.
Some speculate that Dove was using feminism to market their product, but it seems to be working for the skin care line. According to Morning Consult (2017) and Fortune (2017), only a minuscule amount of consumers polled were offended by ‘Real Beauty’ to the point that they no longer want to purchase Dove products. A majority of viewers still prefer the classic bottle shape over “Real Beauty” bottles. Whether this campaign was ultimately helpful or harmful for the brand is still up in the air. Polls seem to point to helpful as media outlets are still buzzing about its impact.
There is no doubt Dove leverages feminism to convey it’s product, similar to a clothing line’s Fall 2016 collection debut.
Does H&M’s “She’s a Lady Ad” Ad come across as offensive by playing the subtle feminism card? As Dove experienced minor controversy shortly after releasing its campaign, there were also mixed reviews of H&M. Many audiences believed it was more empowering than offensive. Ad Week (2016) praised “She’s A Lady” for being authentic with a nod to agency Forsman & Bodenfors and trans actress Hari Nef. The message conveyed by this brand was women from all walks of life redefine the modern diverse woman (Glamour, 2016). According to Babe (2016), this company was discontinuing its plus size clothing and continues to employ refugees. Their identity doesn’t seem to nod towards their diverse message. Do you recall any other ads that use feminism to promote a brand?
Bamber, S. (2016). H&M’s ‘Lady’ campaign is hypocritical, not empowering. Babe. Retrieved from https://babe.net/2016/09/22/hms-lady-campaign-991
Farber, M. (2017, May 17). People still love Dove despite body-shaped bottle controversy, poll shows. Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2017/05/17/dove-body-shaped-bottles-poll/
Logan, E. (2016, Sep. 16). Watch H&M’s stunning, relatable, subtly feminist new “she’s a lady” ad. Glamour. Retrieved from http://www.glamour.com/story/h-and-m-shes-a-lady-fall-2016-campaign
Monllos, K. (2016, Sep. 16). H&M’s stunning new ad subverts what you think a lady should look or act like. Adweek. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/creativity/hms-stunning-new-ad-subverts-what-you-think-lady-should-look-or-act-173487/
Nichols, L. (2017, May 17). Many still love Dove despite mixed reaction to body-shaped bottles. Morning Consult. Retrieved from https://morningconsult.com/2017/05/17/many-still-love-dove-brand-despite-mixed-reaction-body-shaped-bottles/