Oh, it’s cunningly calculated alright. Putting aside for a minute the fact that not a single woman in it is average dress size, let alone above; let alone hairy, conventionally ugly, or wrinkled; the same company brings us the spitworthy misogynistic “Axe” advertising campaign, not to mention Slimfast.
And wait… is Axe made by Dove, or the parent corporation, Unilever? (Seriously, I’m having a hard time googling this one.) Ah, here we go.
Yes, the same company, Unilever, owns both Axe and Dove, but they are separate divisions. Dove has nothing to do with Axe’s ad campaigns. Unilever also owns (among many many other brands) Bertolli, Lifebuoy, Lipton, Pond’s, Hellman’s, Bird’s Eye, Country Crock, Vaseline… If you don’t like the way they advertise Wish Bone Salad Dressing (also a Unilever product), does that reflect badly on Dove?
I am sure that the Dove folks thought that they’d get publicity and notice from their Campaign for Real Beauty, of course they did. That’s what advertising is all about. But they’re the only company that I can see that is using images of women from all stages of live and various races and sizes, and I’m all for that, whatever their other motivations may be.
Yes, I’ve seen the bodies. They’re larger than supermodels, but they’re not average by any stretch of the imagination.
What bugs me is not that their marketing people have swung very, very marginally away from dominant images, but that they’re copping such enormous amounts of cred for their bullshit campaign. What seems to have been overlooked in all this “celebrating real bodies” veneer is that they’re pushing a range of bogus “body firming” products. What message are they supposed to be sending? Where’s the celebration of “real” bodies in those products?
These lines in a USA Today article summed it up for me:
“Women such as Crisanti, who wears size 6 pants and size 12 for other apparel, also were picked because a scary-skinny model would be hard to take seriously pitching a line of cellulite-reducing products.”
“Our target is the 8-to-10-year-old on the cusp of adolescence, when the pressure starts to hit,” http://www.usatoday.com/money/advertising/2005-07-07-dove-usat_x.htm
It’s a big steaming smelly heap of carefully calculated, self-congratulatory PR pitching cellulite paranoia to pre-teens and calling it “self-esteem”.