Brand: Dove Nourishing Lotion
Link: Click Here
Target: Real Women
The spot opens to a thin redhead in a white two-piece outfit that is somewhere between underwear and a bathing suit. The voiceover is a song:”What if we loved our skin … and put nourishment in…” As the spot proceeds we see visuals of very different women – pregnant, older, overweight, one with a tatoo and even a Caeserian scar. “Introducing Dove Nourishing Lotions with 24 hour neutraserum. The first line of body lotions by Dove.” The spot ends with a URL for the campaign for real beauty.
Here’s what works
- Engaging visuals - the white-on-white theme, interesting women and clean shots stand out.
- Dove Takes a Risk - this is not normal advertising and these women are not normal models, so Dove is breaking the mold of beauty advertising.
- Dove is standing for something meaningful to its consumers - with the campaign for real beauty, Dove along with Bath & Body Works and American Girl are trying to do something genuinely useful: change the self-perception of women against the cultural backdrop of perfection obsession.
It is very difficult to take down a marketing company when they are trying to do something that is admirable and undeniably good with their advertising. The Campaign for Real Beauty is a an admirable idea, but it has been a disaster for Dove because it has diluted a brand positioning that was already wobbling under the weight of questionable line extensions.
Dove had a clear and unambiguous reason for being when they were about the woman’s face. Being gentle enough for a woman’s face gave them permission to be used for the rest of the body the same way that being gentle enough for a baby gave adults permission to use Johnson’s baby shampoo themselves thirty years ago. And just as Johnson’s erred in thinking that growing success outside of the baby market meant that they should move their advertising away from babies, so Dove has erred in becoming an all-purpose soft body line.
The Campaign for Real Beauty Ads, for soap, shampoo and now Dove Nourishing Lotion have taken this error a step further. In these spots, Dove is trying to substitute the brand positioning of the campaign (women come in all shape and sizes and that is great) for the brand positioning of Dove. And Dove is trying to morph into a generic empowerment message.
But it just doesn’t fit. First of all, Dove is confusing us. Soap with moisturing lotion gentle enough for a woman’s face so I can use it on my knees and elbows and feet – I get it. Now its for the whole body and the hair and my underarms and it’s really about me not being like everyone else? Huh?
Consumer are attracted to brands because they are experts at something. Dove is coming perilously close to being expert at nothing.
Here are three more problems with this spot:
- Dove is Showing Different Bodies but Talking Different Skin – which is confusing to say the least. Watching this commercial without sound would lead you to think that it’s an underwear commercial. Now if Victoria’s Secret did this, it would be a real revolution. But Dove?
- Dove is Afraid to Use Real Women – The talk is nice but look closely at this commercial and you’ll see that Dove has not really stepped out front and center and empowered ordinary women. They’re just showing models with a slightly wider range of ages and body types than the general commercial fair. They’re still much more attractive than the average pedestrian.
- The Subliminal Message is Still “Improve Yourself” - This is where being a beauty product (nourishing lotion) really kills them. The message is that you need to add something that you don’t have to make you whole. And that means you aren’t whole already. This is why this would be a much better spot for a lingerie company or a jeans manufacturer (and wouldn’t it be nice for a mainstream clothing company to acknowledge real women?). This observation, by the way comes from Adam Finley at Adjab ( click here to read his commentary.)
So what looks like it could be a real winner is really a disaster for Dove. Will they be the next Ivory Soap, languishing in the bargain basement of branding?
Branding Bottom Line -
A noble idea falls for the wrong brand – with predictable results.