DOVE: The campaign for Real Beauty Initially launched in 2004, this campaign has come to represent a lot of good things in advertising. To their credit, Dove is one of the first major brands to begin a conversation about the harmful effects caused by the unrealistic beauty ideals portrayed in advertising. In addition to celebrating beauty in all shapes and sizes of women through their advertising, Dove has committed to promoting positive self-esteem in young girls through educational workshops and activities.
Two of their most impactful videos for young girls are Dove Evolution and Dove Onslaught.
StartFragmentDove - Evolution Commercial EndFragment
AXE: The Axe Effect
Now, here is the thing, the company (Unilever) that owns DOVE also owns another brand called AXE (known as Lynx in the UK). Axe is a line of men’s/boys’ grooming products – body spray, shampoo, gel, etc.
Axe’s advertising actually represents many of the things that DOVE is trying to combat as can be seen from pretty much any of their ads. Although often done with humor, they clearly impose on young girls (and women) the very type of idealized female imagery that the DOVE Onslaught video targets.
I have shared the DOVE videos with my daughter and bought AXE products for my son. Does this mean I contribute to the problem?
Would it make a difference if DOVE and AXE were owned by different companies?
If I believe in the DOVE message, should I not buy any products that portray an unrealistic concept of female beauty? If I didn’t, would there be any products left which I could buy?
Or is it just enough that I keep my eyes open and realize that advertising is meant to do one thing – sell products. While I am a big supporter of DOVE’s Campaign for Real Beauty, it is still designed to support the sale of their products. And although the female imagery AXE uses most certainly contribute to the problem of female body image issues, is it enough that I educate myself to how unrealistic these images are?
What do you think?