Without a doubt, the Dove Real Beauty campaign has been a successful one for the brand. And by prompting us to have the discussion about the narrow and oftentimes unrealistic standard of beauty for women, the campaign should be commended. But what started out as a positive campaign has turned into something manipulative and downright ridiculous. It’s time for Dove to get real about Real Beauty and call it quits.
The latest has women choosing whether they should walk through a door that labels them “Beautiful” or “Average.”
As Fast Company says, “As the campaign progresses, each new iteration feels more forced and stunty than the last, and, again, each feels like it’s putting women in the exact spot that ‘Real Beauty’ was meant to release them from—feeling like their entire existence is about physical beauty.”
What started off as a campaign about the state of beauty marketing has turned into a series of PSAs on self-esteem with the women participants put in the position to account for their feelings in what feels like a melodramatic skit.
Not only does Fast Company suggest that this particular ad is staged, but, if it’s not, that the reasons for choosing one or the other door may be particularly complex or very simple, both thoughts that crossed my mind. Buzzfeed (in a post that was deleted then re-posted after much controversy), also notes the “superficial” nature of these being the only two choices women face.
In short, the promos have moved too far away from the brand, mimicking the early ads but ultimately striking a sour note.
Campaigns that go on for too long run that risk. Just like TV shows and many music bands, there comes a point when the story runs its course; when there’s not much more you can say on the topic without falling back on the formulaic or tripping face first into cheesy.
Let’s go back a few years to the Old Spice “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like” campaign. That campaign was not only a success because it went viral, but it also drove up sales. But before we could get tired of it, and before it could become awash (sorry) in cliches, Old Spice moved on.
That’s where we are with Dove. The brand needs something fresh. Maybe they can come up with something else to say on the topic of beauty marketing. Or maybe they can focus on saying something about their products.