When Dove Cries

It’s not often that you see an advertisement for a beauty product line that dares you to defy the definition of conventional beauty. Companies like Loreal and Revlon are very happy to embrace such vapid campaign slogans as “Because you’re worth it!” or marketing techniques highlight the mystique of their stunning spokesmodels (Halle Berry). There’s nothing inherently wrong with these campaigns, mind you, I just find they don’t really speak to me. I don’t believe for one minute that if I use their products, then I’ll be as gorgeous as the women being used to demonstrate them.

Take Dove on the other hand. Sure they’re not selling makeup or hair color. They’re still selling products meant to aid in beauty – facial washes, hair spray, body wash. I first took notice of their ad campaigns well over a year ago, with the commercial they put out with a bunch of women wearing blonde wigs congregating together, then ripping off the wigs and tossing them away because “it would be boring if we were all the same”. Ain’t that the truth. Their hairspray was designed to work on the multitude of hair types out there.

Heh, I thought at the time. Clever. I didn’t really buy it. Then I was intriged by Dove’s deodorant ads, the ones where they had ‘real’ women testing the product and showing their results to us. Again, I thought the women were actors (of course, they must be)…but they were actors that looked like my coworker, my neighbor, the woman I pass on the street on the way to work every day. I really liked that.

Next came the ad for moisturizer, proclaiming that women would love the skin they were in. This one starred a wonderfully and truly curvy woman unabashedly dancing around in her bra and panties. She was amazing. She was real.

This one was the kicker: Campaign For Real Beauty Seriously, it might be the song that gets me, but the message is so damned great it also makes me get tears in my eyes. It is so nice to see a postitive representation of women, everyday women and girls.

I looked in my bathroom medicine cabinet today. I have no Loreal products. I have no Revlon products. But I do have Dove body wash. Dove soap. Dove deodorant. Dove hairspray. Dove cried out, and I listened.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    Wow. The commercial you linked to is inspiring. And this goes back to your comment about how some people will find you “cute as a button” and others won’t find you appealing, but that’s how it really is, even for the Hollywood icons of beauty. There is no actor out there that everyone will universally find appealing.

    Your post is inspiring, too. L’Oreal may tell you you’re worth it, but their actions speak a different message. Dove is putting across the truth of that message, instead of just encapsulating it in a cool slogan, and it’s speaking to people like you.

  2. obelix says

    Just in case you didn’t realise this, the women in their campaigns are not actors but real women they’ve recruited by going from town to town and holding open auditions.

    I do love their commercials and yes I do use their products. As an older woman it’s nice to have someone recognize I exist and have some spending power :-)

  3. scarlettslegacy says

    The first Dove ad I really took notice of was a skin firming ad which featured ‘real’ looking women – the curvy women were curvy EVERYWHERE, just not their boobs, and the skinny women were skinny EVERYWHERE, including their boobs. (How many size eight models have we seen with C- and D-cup boobs?) They all looked like they were having a great time and the tagline was something like ‘lets face it, firming the thighs of a size eight model is no hardship’. I LOVED that they’d taken the typical ad of the stunning woman and kicked it in the teeth. I realise, as a media/mass communications student that someone just cottoned onto the fact that, hey, there are REAL, non-size-eight-D-cup-women out there, we can make a mint out if them, but still, I think it’s a step in the right direction that someone has at least cottoned onto the fact that 99.9999% of the population is NOT a size-eight-D-cup.

    And for the record, my beauty products range between Dove and Nivea. I think my lipstick is Maybelline, because it was the first colourstay I found that I was more or less happy with, and not because whichever stunning women was flogging it. And my foundation is bought on the basis of, oops, I’ve run out, better go and get the first thing that matches my skin tone :p

  4. sbg says

    Just in case you didn’t realise this, the women in their campaigns are not actors but real women they’ve recruited by going from town to town and holding open auditions.

    Really? Then I like Dove even more.

    I do love their commercials and yes I do use their products. As an older woman it’s nice to have someone recognize I exist and have some spending power

    Ditto for being a real, curvy woman. And for the record, my armptis turned into underarms just like the ladies on the commercials. Hee. ;)

  5. sbg says

    Wow. The commercial you linked to is inspiring. And this goes back to your comment about how some people will find you “cute as a button” and others won’t find you appealing, but that’s how it really is, even for the Hollywood icons of beauty. There is no actor out there that everyone will universally find appealing.

    The commercial is wonderful. I love that it recognizes that we need to change things for future generations. I wish other companies would realize it as well.

    It bothers me quite a bit, that beauty generalization, because it’s not real. I hate shows like The Bachelor where they specifically look for ‘hotness’ in a woman, including making sure she looks good in skimpy clothing. The impression they are giving is that a normal woman with, say ample hips or a bit of a tummy is not desirable. That no one would want to see that. Average Joe, whose premise is that a normal, schlumpy guy gets to date a bunch of hot, leggy women makes me so mad I could spit. Why aren’t we getting a “Plain Jane” show doing the opposite?

    I rant. ;)

  6. sbg says

    I realise, as a media/mass communications student that someone just cottoned onto the fact that, hey, there are REAL, non-size-eight-D-cup-women out there, we can make a mint out if them, but still, I think it’s a step in the right direction that someone has at least cottoned onto the fact that 99.9999% of the population is NOT a size-eight-D-cup.

    Oh, indeed. It’s a brilliant marketing campaign on their part. It’s just so damn nice that they’re actually making an attempt to speak to the average woman, even if it is to capitalize off of them.

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    And in real life, I can’t get over the body types men will admit to actually preferring. There are guys who prefer big hips, small breasts… there’s something out there for everyone, or someone out there for everything.

    Men and women are BOTH being fed a real line of bull about what we’re supposed to want, and it’s not good for any of us.

  8. Jennifer Kesler says

    Well, hey, capitalizing is fine – you give me something of value, you’re welcome to my money. You have a bit of social conscience about it, that’s just even nicer.

    All I resent is these companies taking advantage of things like low self-esteem to hawk their crappy products. Dove is going so far in the opposite direction – I hope it makes them a ton of money, and other companies take notice.

  9. obelix says

    They had auditions where I live in last November and they were all over the radio stations asking women to come and become part of their Real Beauty campaign. That’s how they got the ones for their previous commercials :-)

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