Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dove Onslaught(er)

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.


Anonymous said...

That Greenpeace video is great, put me right off dove (and Im not a big soap purchaser but still).

Not sure I get the link to the lynx/dove beauty point and the greenpeace initiative.

Either way that is a tricky one for the parent brand, I imagine the two brands (and they are both brands in their own right) operate seperatly in terms of marketing, and they are targeted and such different markets, I mean would it really make sense for Lynx to have a similar style to their ads as Dove? I do agree those Lynx ads are good fun.

Paul Dervan said...

cheers Conor. No link between dove/lynx and greenpeace except that it adds another crack in the Dove brand position as standing for something good in society - like innocent smoothies, newman's own etc.

I agree it makes sense to have different style. The issue is more to do with values. The same company that tells their customers they think women are exploited in beauty industry use the same beauty images to sell other products. Like I said, I'm not totally convinced but there is inconsistency here.

Anonymous said...

Yeh its a tricky one, I wonder what Unilevers corporate values are? they must have a statement similar to Kelloggs K Values, they surely have seen this coming and have a way to reconcile the two positions.

Newmans Own, can't believe I havent talked about that brand yet!