Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dove does it again

Another provocative look at the beauty industry, again brought to us by Dove. The company’s new viral video, entitled Onslaught, stars a bright seven-year-old girl, all smiley and freckle-faced, staring blissfully into the camera. The serene scene takes a drastic u-turn as the young girl is bombarded with images from the beauty industry. The rapid fire-like scenes are set to compelling music (performed by British band Simian) and each frame is fabulously choreographed. The end of the video offers up a wonderful inspirational message. I won’t spoil it – you’ve gotta watch it. Both Adage and Adweek give the viral piece two thumbs up. Adage calls the video a “triumph”, while Adweek calls it “technically beautiful.”

I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps it’s not as powerful or universally themed as Dove’s previous Evolution viral video, but the message is provocative and very current. It’s yet another great example of how social media can be used to unleash viral videos. Onslaught, like Evolution, is the brain child of Tim Piper. He was art director, director, writer and editor of the new film.

I asked Nancy Vonk, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy, for her thoughts on the campaign. Here’s what she had to say:

Onslaught was presented as an idea to our Dove client in the same meeting as we presented Evolution and other short film concepts. They're designed to encourage mothers to sign up for Dove's mother-daughter self esteem workshops provided through the Dove Self Esteem Fund. The Dove clients came to Ogilvy with a request to identify the best way to achieve this goal, and didn't have preconceived ideas about what medium to use. In the end, the web was the best place to speak from both a cost perspective and creatively; we could tell compelling stories without the time restraints of TV. And online we could be far more engaging, with opportunity for people to join in a discussion on the issues. And, of course, the Dove site is full of helpful information.

The reaction to Onslaught is huge (no pressure after Evolution) and there's some debate going on about true motives. Dove isn't trying to hide the hope that this work will create interest in its products. Of course we all hope for that. And it's working. But the hope to make a positive impact on the world is equally genuine. They've made a huge investment in helping women and girls, and the passion they bring to the table is inspiring to us.”

Nicely put, Nancy.

As a mother of a soon–to-be seven-year-old girl, the Onslaught message seems to be pinpointed squarely at me. I am the beauty industry’s best customer and sucker for all miracle creams and potions. I buy endless books on fitness and dieting and have my own personal supply of “all things Hoodia.” I’m not overweight, just trying to stay fit and prolong the inevitable Wrinkled Neck Syndrome. Beauty images are all around us and, to some extent, hound us every day. I can’t escape it either.

I try to set a good example in front of my daughter. But I got caught this weekend. My daughter saw me reading Skinny Bitch the other day (very funny book - I recommend some junk reading once in a while). She asked me what the book was called. “Skinny Girl,” I said. Problem is she’s a very good reader and figured out I was lying. Ugh.

Onslaught, like Evolution is meant to start conversations with our most valuable resources – our children, specifically our young daughters. Dove might not be able to save my generation from feeling inadequate, fat, bloated, deprived and totally body conscious. But we can sure as hell make sure our daughters, granddaughters, nieces and other young girls we love don’t feel this way. Ever.


David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Jones said...

Unilever has carved out a nice niche for its Dove brand. It's obviously working for them. I'm assuming that there share of the soap/shampoo/creams market is growing. Clearly you can be socially conscious and commercially minded at the same time...they would've learned that from the Body Shop.

While I applaud the Dove Campaign as the gold standard, my bullshit detector always seems to go off. Unilever also makes Axe, which I think plays to the male fantasy of getting laid by the entire gymnastics team. http://www.axevice.com/naughtytonice/

None of those Axe commercials show any models from the Campaign For Real Beauty, only your usual exceptionally skinny, Maxim girl.

Goose, Gander?

Julie Rusciolelli said...

Oh, too funny David. I never put that together, the brands are so radically different, I forgot both are under the Unilever umbrella. But they are clearly reaching two diverse consumers, and never the two shall meet right? But you've raised an interesting point about marketing and ethics. But isn't marketing/advertising brand centric? AXE has nothing to do with Dove so the two can go to market at polar opposite ends of the creative spectrum to win consumers over.

David said...

Absolutely. Brands are brands are brands and their targets will always be diverse and distinct My take is that Dove gets a lot of love and respect for being such a socially responsible marketer. But what about their friends down the hall who work on Axe? I wonder if they sit together in the Unilever cafeteria.

The Most Elegant Kiss said...

We love your articles written on women issues particularly about the Dove ads recently!

We have been following the marketing/ads of Dove and find it to be such a compelling attempt to changing the face of feminine beauty. Yes...we think it's great that Unilever, as a multi-billion company, has taken the lead in making an impact to the younger generation. As you pointed out, hopefully we will start to see the next generation of women feeling empowered to make decisions to celebrate their unique beauty.

As for social marketing & ethics, the campaigns are obviously driving consumer purchasing for the Dove Brand. However, we can't ignore that the ad/media outlet is such a powerful forum to influencing & changing minds. We definitely need more positive & empowering messages for women regardless of whether it’s driving consumer purchasing.

Changing the minds of women today on the topic of beauty will take some time, however, as more corporations & grassroots movements such as our women's book project reinforce real beauty it will start to make an impact to the next generation of women.