Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Real women need real copywriters

Now here's one of those instances from American advertising where you just have to wonder: Did no one with a brain review this?

You've probably seen the new Dove soap ad campaign, featuring six "real women with real curves" standing around in their underwear hawking America's favorite beauty bar. Our local shopping mall is even displaying life-size posters featuring these women, and I'd guess your local shopping mall is too, shopping malls being the trend-sniffing beasts that they are.

Now take a gander at this screenshot from the Dove Web site.

Note the instructions:
Meet the women, read their stories and see their beautiful curves.
Okay so far, right? But check out the next line:
Roll over each woman to see more.
To which I can only say:
Oh, my.
One other observation. The point of this ad campaign is supposed to be that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, even if they don't fit into a size 2 dress. As the Flash animation on the Dove Web site ponderously intones:
For too long, beauty has been defined by narrow, stifling stereotypes. You've told us it's time to change all that. We agree.
But take a look at the women the Dove folks (or, more accurately, their ad agency) chose for the "Campaign for Real Beauty." All of these women are attractive by any reasonable standard. Most of them aren't waifs, exactly, but not one is either heavy or plain, unless your personal barometer of heaviness or plainness is seriously out of whack. If Dove really wanted to prove a point, why not use women with size 18 figures whose faces don't look like they came off the cover of Modern Bride?

For that matter, doesn't it sort of defeat the purpose of the ad to put the skinny, fair-skinned blonde girl front and center?

Narrow, stifling stereotypes, indeed.

3 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Janet offered these pearls of wisdom...

It's like there halfway there. They have good intentions, but like you put it, are these women really overweight? And even if they are by today's standards, overweight, they are still modelesque, beautiful women.

Then agai, if they chose women without beautiful skin, I suppose they would say Dove wasn't doing its job.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous offered these pearls of wisdom...

Apparently, not everyone thinks the ad was a good idea. However, the ad is a big success and has boosted Dove sales. That was the goal.

Pretty, well-toned, "curvy" women who are neither skinny nor fat will sell this type of product. Out-of-shape, "fat", average-looking women will not. You didn't really think it was a BBW empowerment campaign, did you? It's about the "average-sized" woman. They didn't say "overweight" women, they said "real women". All of the women in the ad are average-sized, or slightly over average, and "curvy". The point is that we're not all models, but we all ain't hefty and ugly either! You can be a realistic size and still be beautiful. You don't have to be a toothpick.

And of course you're gonna use attractive models. All women want to use products that result in a "more attractive you". Who would want to use a product that showed plain-looking, obese women who, after using the product, remained unattractive? And ther's the fact that the ads appeal to a male audience...more $$$ from gifts to girlfriends and wives. I bet their old ads didn't reach guys.

If you're looking for a "more power to ya" boost for heavy women, watch the Lifetime channel or Oprah. Don't look for it in an ad because that's not its purpose.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer offered these pearls of wisdom...

What a shame that I'm not considered beautiful or a real woman, since I'm a size two.

In short: fuck you, Dove.

9:56 PM  

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