For too long, beauty has been defined by narrow, stifling stereotypes. Women have told us it's time to change all that. Dove agrees. We believe real beauty comes in many shapes, sizes and ages. That is why Dove is launching the Campaign for Real Beauty.
On Sunday night in our youth gathering we looked at a film produced by this campaign called “Evolution.” After watching the film we looked at scripture relating to how we should be more concerned with the heart and what is on the inside than on outward appearances. The video and scripture led to interesting discussion.
But, I did feel a bit guilty about using this clip after doing some research on the film, company, and campaign. While Dove is making the effort to build self-esteem in women of all ages, another company “Axe” seems to be doing the opposite. A quick look at the back of a bottle of “Axe” body wash, body spray, or deodorant shows just what the “Axe Effect” is- usually a cartoon silhouette of a man either running from a flock of chasing women, or in the middle of two women hanging on him. The print and video ads depicting the “Axe Effect” are much less benign. While Dove is promoting an image of beauty regardless of age and body type, Axe is promoting an image of women as objects for which the use of Axe will make more attainable.
So why would I feel guilty about using the Dove ad? If you look at the back of any Dove or Axe product, you will find the same name- Unilever. This company owns both Dove and Axe. I’m not really sure how corporate America operates, but I do find it troubling that an organization could on the one hand promote such a positive campaign, while on the other, producing ads that directly contradict that campaign. Is it all just a marketing ploy to diversify in advertising to reach target audiences? And if so, should it be praised for the good that it does or criticized for the hypocrisy that it represents?