One Harsh Critic of the Dove Campaign

I came across a Dove magazine ad yesterday, and an amusing story came to mind. Last year my copywriter, Wendy, published a humor book about dating with two other writers. New York was on their promotional tour and they were asked to be guests of the Corvino and Rich show on Sirius’ MAXIM Radio. Not being a huge fan of the magazine, Wendy decided to try and desensitize herself, at least for a little while, and listen to MAXIM Radio. She tuned into one particular show with a female host. She was taking calls on how advertising negatively affects women. One guy called in and said,

“I think those Dove commercials send the wrong message to women. They’re telling women it’s okay to look like that. And I think that is wrong.”

I laugh every time I think about that story. I laugh mostly because if that was a prank call, I have to give him props. But if it wasn’t, I still snicker because what does Dove care what this guy thinks? Because even if he too would like soft skin and shiny hair—and who wouldn’t, really—he’s not who they are talking to. Or is he in a secondary-market kind of way? While I commend Dove for working to change perceptions across the board, their first goal is to sell products. And that’s what they are doing. Their brand is selling because women seek honest advertising; they want to respect a company they are buying from; and they desire to connect with a brand.

I will say they do have their work cut out for them on the perceptions front. They have decades of media saturation to ring out. A daunting task, but hopefully not impossible. I wish them all the best and pray reinforcements will charge in soon.

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email
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