Dove’s Latest Deception
One of the biggest criticisms of the advertising industry, generally speaking, is that it’s dishonest. Commercials tell parents that putting a fatty chocolate-hazelnut spread on their kids’ toast in the morning will make them do better in school. Kim Kardashian tells viewers, on behalf of Sketchers, that if you wear those ugly rocking-chair-like sneakers, your butt will look, like, 100% more toned in just days. Or, if you use this particular eye cream, your complexion will go from Clint Eastwood to Kate Moss overnight!
Misleading advertising is not looked upon kindly, and there are a number of governing boards that set standards and monitor works of advertising, like the Canadian Competition Bureau. They’ve set up misleading advertising and labelling provisions, which are designed to stop advertisers from making deceptive representations for the purpose of promoting a product or service.
But, as you’d likely suspect, there are also vigilantes out there who have taken the cause into their own hands. Over the last decade, Dove has made a concerted effort to start a dialogue, and make moves to change the way advertisers market specific products, mostly ones targeting women. Their dedication to promoting “real beauty” has been applauded globally, and this week they added another notch to their award-winning campaign belt.
Dove is continuing its decade-long “Real Beauty” campaign with a Photoshop action that seeks to un-airbrush unrealistic images of models. The Photoshop action — a downloadable file that applies an action with a single click — is aimed at art directors who may be creating such ads. The action, which was disseminated on Reddit and other places where Dove thought such art directors might visit, promised to add a skin glow effect, but actually reverted the image to its original state.
Although it definitely has people talking, some have looked at this new campaign skeptically, saying that Dove missed the mark with their target. We’re going to put on our devil’s advocate pants for a moment, and consider this point… Society obligations are sometimes left in the wind when incorporating all stakeholders’ feedback during the creative process. Perhaps a similar campaign directed at someone other than the designers and art directors, maybe someone higher up in the chain of command, could have packed more of a punch?
Secondly, some people are leery about the sincerity of Dove’s mandate. Dove, who is owned by Unilever, says that it is firmly opposed to ads that objectify women. However, Unilever also owns Axe, and if you’ve ever seen an Axe ad, you’ll understand this obvious contradiction.
Just a little bit of food for thought. Chew on it, and then let us know what you think of this campaign. Is it effective? Watch below, and let us know in the comment section!