Katharine announced this weekend that we’re dumping all Dove product following their Campaign for Real Beauty, which you may have spotted on busses and elsewhere. I’m not talking about the ice cream, which remains kosher, but shampoo and conditioner (neither of which bother me), cleansers, body washes etcetera. Unfortunately, I’d recently stocked on this stuff and so had to put the case for phasing a new (yet to be announced) brand in rather than binning it all.
The Campaign for Real Beauty is a bit like Marks & Spencer’s legendary failure in which a fat girl ran around naked shouting ‘I’m normal!’. Perhaps she was. And this stuff goes down really well in research: ‘You’re not fat,’ said M&S. ‘You’re normal’; ‘You’re not oversized, your outstanding’, says Dove. ‘Thank you,’ said/says the fat girl. And just as M&S thought sales couldn’t get any lower, they bombed.
While ugly people (men as well as women, but mainly women) like the idea of being told they’re beautiful, they’re not that stupid. And nobody wants to be ugly. We all aspire to be attractive – even if we let ourselves go – and we want beauty products to offer beauty not lame excuses. The truly awful website invites you to vote on pictures of supposedly flawed women (mouseover the ugly vote and they try really hard for you). Of course, these are very well presented models and even supporters, like James Cherkoff, reckon the comments are seeded. ‘Be thankful for every wrinkle, roll, freckle and flaw,’ says ‘Lara’. Yeah, right, as if.
Katharine doesn’t want to be seen with Dove product in the gym, say, because if this campaign works people will see that brand and think ‘what’s wrong with her?’. Brand owners, Unilever, have bashed Dove around the head with the ugly stick and nobody will want the ugly to rub off on them.
Naïve Marketing Strategies#7: Chocolate HobNobs: luxury or standard issue?……Mazda RX-8 ideal sports car