Dove Illustrates Why Perception of Beauty is Distorted

dove_unreal.jpg

When we as an industry set out to create a beautiful ad, we tend to sometimes let our creativity and this thing called Photoshop run amock. Clearly demonstrating this penchant and fixation for beautifying everything in our path is this Dove commercial - created by Ogilvy Toronto and produced by Reginald Pike - in which an average looking woman is, first, subjected to intense physical makeover and then intense digital makeover turning her into the very familiar but very unreal woman we see gracing the pages of magazines and as subject matter for our advertising.

Is this wrong? Are we devaluing the appreciation of human beings by turning them into beautiful but freakishly unreal versions of themselves? Do we as an industry owe it to society to stop perpetuating the myth of beauty and its seeming importance over every other human attribute? The answers are unclear and likely answerable only in a fashion similar to that of abortion: individually and with respect to a person's individual situation. We, of course, are not, by far, the only industry that does this. Fashion and Hollywood play their part as well.

While there may never be a clear cut answer to these questions, in one sense, it nets out to the importance of reflecting reality versus the importance of presenting something, however unreal and unattainable, toward which people can reach. Dove thinks there's too much effort expended on the unattainable reach side of the spectrum and has been illustrating that notion in it's ad campaigns lately. To all of those in this industry, have we gone to far? Have we forever warped reality into some freakishly fake, unattainable entity? Are e simply painting optimistic imagery towards which people can reach? Are we causing the problem or are we reflecting societies problems? Should we do anything about it? can we do anything about it?

by Steve Hall    Oct-16-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Commercials, Creative Commentary, Good, Opinion   

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Comments



Comments

if you go to the "self-esteem" forum on the site(after sifting through a bunch of woe-is-me comments) you'll come across some remarks which point out that this campaign has no purpose. If someone looking at a beauty magazine were to use their heads they would realize that the cosmetic companies are trying to sell their product, so why would they show a woman who didn't look good while wearing them?etc...
I thought that was pretty bold on dove's part for allowing those posts to be approved.

Posted by: brent on October 16, 2006 2:05 PM

Omigod, everyone who can should include a link to this spot on their Websites, blogs, newsletters......

Posted by: Lydia Sugarman on October 16, 2006 2:05 PM

I disagree with Brent. The idea of beauty is so overly present in today's society that it's only human if you start believing it. Proving otherwise - that's the hard part. Especially when it comes to young girls who are looking for role models and feel peer pressure not only from classmates, but especially also from celebs and teen magazines.

I think this is a nice move on Dove's part. Marketing wise they've shifted from selling their product to getting the sympathy of the buyer. The shift for the emotional customer is a risky one and it's interesting to see if it will work.

Does anyone know any (recent) campaigns we can compare or benchmark this to?

Posted by: Remco Bron on October 16, 2006 2:15 PM

By the way, check out the commercial Dove which dove launched in The Netherlands. It has the same feel as the 'daughters' commercial in the above example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElyvOwih_4c

Posted by: Remco Bron on October 16, 2006 2:23 PM

Kudos to Dove for saying what we all instinctively know but seriously want to deny. There is a lot of complexity to this issue that I couldn't even begin to address here, but women and girls who want to look natural still use lotion, soaps, shampoo, etc and who better to buy those from than a company that expresses concern about the deceptive nature of fashion/cosmetic advertising. I don't see it as a contradiction at all.

Posted by: Theresa on October 16, 2006 2:28 PM

Of course fashion/cosmetic/ beauty indistries are selling a product, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the images used in those ads have had an exponential effect on our idea of what is beautiful... and consequently, many girls are unable to distance themselves from the realities of makeup artists and photoshop. For people who have never heard of an Art Director or a Creative Department, these ads are absorbed as fact. The smoke and mirrors is still real to many people...
Commercials like this are another reminder (which we do need frequently) that things are not always what they seem. Bravo to Dove for continuuing to help remember this.

Posted by: Sarah on October 16, 2006 2:31 PM

Keep remembering what? This is self-serving and I see right through it all. Good lord people, you wash off your BO with soap-nuff said.

Posted by: John Boy on October 16, 2006 4:55 PM

Okay, Steve, I love your blog.

BUT, with that said, (and especially in light of the fact that you've run a few "unfortunate pairings of articles and contextual-based ads" posts as of late), I have to say this: Why, after I read this great article on "devaluing the appreciation of human beings," do I look to the sidebar and see an ad featuring a dude shoving his face in a set of disembodied boobs?

Posted by: Ben on October 16, 2006 5:07 PM

LOL!! Good point. It's not contextually delivered but it is an ad for TBS promoting their Very Funny Ads program. See, there's even contextual fuckery on Adrants.

Posted by: Steve Hall on October 16, 2006 5:26 PM

The ad that the netherlands did actually originated in Canada and has been adapted worldwide.

Posted by: smallseal on October 16, 2006 5:34 PM

I thought they created that Netherlands commercial in the US from Ogilvy NY. That choir singing in the background is a Girl Scouts choir from New York.

Posted by: David Wen on October 16, 2006 8:43 PM

I thought they created that Netherlands commercial in the US from Ogilvy NY. That choir singing in the background is a Girl Scouts choir from New York.

It originally aired during last year's Super Bowl to the best of my knowledge.

Posted by: David Wen on October 16, 2006 8:43 PM

Yeah, this thing is old. Really old. Maybe not this one in particular, but I remember seeing a site a while back, almost a year ago, that showed all of the touch up work and all that that is done to photos in magazines and so on and so forth.

Posted by: Brent on October 17, 2006 1:17 AM

I'm suprised how much I've thought about that Dove film since I saw it the other day. It obviously floored my brain. :)

Posted by: Step Schwarz on October 17, 2006 10:55 AM

Now if some of Dove's packaging would be so plain and simple, people wouldn't be confused into buying a product they thought was one thing and it turns out to be something else.

But wait, that would be generic and dull.

Just a logo and a product name on some special night cream?

Hypocrites?

Or just detailed differences?

Posted by: nancy on October 17, 2006 11:06 AM

The best I semember Dove was a soap for men that didn't sell before David Olgilvy got into the act and told normal women it was a soap for beautiful skin. Did they forget?

Posted by: roy on October 17, 2006 12:09 PM

The best I remember Dove was a soap for men that didn't sell before David Olgilvy got into the act and told normal women it was a soap for beautiful skin. Did they forget?

Posted by: roy on October 17, 2006 12:10 PM

Thats not photoshop. Anyone know what program was used in the AD.

Posted by: steven on October 25, 2006 4:40 PM

Does anyone know what program was used in that commercial?? Its not Photoshop...?

Posted by: PortiA on November 9, 2006 3:48 PM

Does anyone know what program was used in that commercial?? Its not Photoshop...?

Posted by: PortiA on November 9, 2006 3:49 PM

Bravo Dove. There are lots of room for Dovelution around the globe....love the concept. Dovelution is beauty and glamour..who said no?

Posted by: Woody on November 11, 2006 11:53 AM

Bravo Dove. There are lots of room for Dovelution around the globe....love the concept. Dovelution is beauty and glamour..who said no?

Posted by: Woody on November 11, 2006 11:54 AM

Bravo Dove. There are lots of room for Dovelution around the globe....love the concept. Dovelution is beauty and glamour..who said no?

Posted by: Woody on November 11, 2006 11:55 AM

Hello... I'd like to know what program was used in this commercial... Thk's a lot.

Posted by: Felipe Benincasa on June 26, 2007 8:20 AM

Hello... I'd like to know what program was used in this commercial... Thk's a lot.

Posted by: Felipe Benincasa on June 26, 2007 8:20 AM





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