Saturday, April 26, 2008
Greenpeace have joined the anti-Dove conversation with a video of their own and a petition asking us to talk to Dove before they destroy rainforests.
Some quick background if you are not familiar:
Because Unilever own both Dove and Lynx, they took a bit of stick recently for having two brands that appear to have opposing views on women + beauty.
Dove's Evolution campaign for real beauty was massively successful. Their insightful campaign spoke out against the fashion / beauty industry for making women feel they must look beautiful. Their follow up video Dove Onslaught built on this theme, asking us to talk to our daughters before the beauty industry did. From a brand perspective, they had cracked it. They stood for something important and relevant to their industry. And women loved them.
Lynx (Axe) on the other hand, sell their product on the back of this sex appeal. The women-as-sex-objects images that Dove speak out against in their Dove Onslaught video do not look too dissimilar to what you mind find in a typical Lynx ad.
Personally I think the criticism they've taken is possibly a bit harsh. Lynx do feature beautiful women but it is all very tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be taken too seriously. They don't suggest that Lynx will make you beautiful - rather that you'll attract women if you use it.
However, it can't be much fun for Unilever who were really taking the high ground with their Dove brand. As a brand, Unilever look like hypocrites. What are their values and in particular to the debates on beauty industry practices? People have questioned whether their views on self esteem are just skin deep (excuse the pun) and believable - leading to a video response A message from Unilever.
I found the Greenpeace video at viralblog. More here at Greenpeace's site.
This is interesting stuff and a delicate situation for Dove and Unilever. If brands take the high ground, they need to be sure they can defend it.
John Grant talks about this a bit in his 'Green Marketing Manifesto' book where he warns brands not to promote a green or ethical position unless they can truly stand over this. Otherwise it can be seen as green washing.