Bob Garfield Gives Dove’s “Onslaught” the Ol’ One Two Punch


We saw that last “Evolution” ad for Dove just like all six billion of you other people on the planet. And more recently we saw their newest, “Onslaught,” which is sort of the same thing, but tugs on our hearts slightly harder by using a little girl. We didn’t like the first one and we don’t like this one. But we’re not the wordsmiths that Bob Garfield over at AdAge is, so we were waiting for his review. Now that it’s come in, we think it’s a thing of beauty. The basic rundown is: in the first half he talks about how it’s perfect, how it’s amazing, how it should win a short film Oscar…BUT (key emphasis there)…it’s also a study in Hypocrisy 101. And therein lies our big problem with it. It’s Lindsay Lohan doing an anti-drug PSA. It’s those massive, two-page “We’re committed to saving the earth!” Shell ads in every issue of the New Yorker. And it’s the call that was made when they were casting the very little girl in the spot: “We want cute, but you know, not too cute. Just like ‘real person’ cute.” But again, better to let Bob tell it:

Viewed close up, the “Campaign for Real Beauty” is precisely the unassailable defense of human values it purports to be. But to pull back is to reveal. Dove is a brand from Unilever, which isn’t so enlightened when it comes to Axe/Lynx — whose ads portray women as slinky sex toys — and Slim-Fast, which encourages exactly the kind of yo-yo dieting so vividly dramatized in “Onslaught.”

As for Ogilvy, well — in a bit of horrifying/delicious irony — it is actually the U.S. agency for the Barbie doll.


Personally, we’ll stick with this version.