If you haven’t already seen this “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” clip that everyone is posting on Facebook, take a gander:

Dove once again pulls through in this touching video about how women view themselves in such poor light compared to how others see them. It is sad how women are especially critical of every mole, point, curve, bump, and supposed flaw on their bodies.  Dove does a wonderful job conveying that we are our worst critics and you need to be confident in who you are because others do see you as beautiful.  Dove’s message: “Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.”

I continue to applaud Dove on their “Real Beauty” movement which inspires girls and women to embrace who they are. I love that they use models that look like real women. Even their web site is impressive with a “Social Movement” section which highlights workshops, videos, guides, and activities for girls to “embrace their unique beauty.”  Dove even supports partnerships with Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Girls Inc. for building self- esteem.  And did you know every purchase you make helps support these programs? It all sounds great, and is. It makes me feel good when I buy their products. Mission accomplished, Dove.

But, did you also know Dove’s parent company is Unilever, the same folks who own AXE body products? (insert record screech sound bite here). You know, those offensive ads with perfect face and body, bikini-clad, oiled-up women swooning over the man spraying AXE all over himself?  The ads you probably don’t want your kids to see? The ads that the first time you saw you said, “Are you serious?” A bit of a contradiction from Unilever, wouldn’t you say?

Here’s the latest in AXE’s repertoire (and this is a tame one):

Which brings me to my question. Is it REALLY responsible marketing if your parent company also promotes brands like AXE which objectify women?

What do you think? 

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  • http://twitter.com/DanGoldgeier DanGoldgeier

    Axe might objectify women, but it’s not marketing to women. There’s a better comparison: Unilever markets a product in some countries called “Fair & Lovely,” which is a skin-whitening cream. As lighter skin (or “fairness” as they call it) is more desirable in some cultures, the implication seems to be that some women shouldn’t be embracing their real beauty.

  • http://twitter.com/jmorris_jim Jim Morris

    Patrick, Good post. I had the same reaction and thought the ad was
    moving and beautiful, until I thought about the message underneath which
    is that physical beauty is where it’s at and women – particularly young
    women in our society are so heavily acculturated to focus on their
    looks at the expense of finding their purpose in life, health, diet,
    spirit, etc. I hope some day one of the women’s beauty products
    companies breaks rank and runs a disruptive ad that somehow says looks don’t matter
    nearly as much as all the attributes that makes any person beautiful – or not – on the inside.