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Unilever says you’re pretty, don’t let yourself go

April 17th, 2007     by Megan Griffith-Greene     Comments

The company that brought you the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is sending you another message: Don’t let yourself go. Unilever, which owns Dove, has launched a new ad for Suave brand hair and beauty products. The new ads show a sexy twentysomething woman transformed through marriage, pregnancy, motherhood and housework into a frumpy mom.

The “pretty mommy” campaign is in stark contrast to the “Dove evolution” spot that swept the internet last year with a high speed video showing how models are transformed through makeup, lighting and digital imaging software into advertising images. (The Dove campaign has sparked some pretty interesting debate — if you haven’t already, check out Nicole’s great article in the Summer 2006 issue of Shameless [link])

There’s a good article in Ad Age about the contradictory campaigns [link], and this quote jumped out at me:

“The fact that Unilever makes both brands probably doesn’t occur to most women, so I doubt in a true business sense whether the Dove brand will suffer from a very different message coming from Suave, or vice versa,” said Janie Curtis, managing director of consulting firm Frank About Women.

The article also mentions that the Dove Real Beauty campaign has meant real money:

Both approaches seem to be working. Dove has grown double digits in each of the past two years since the Campaign for Real Beauty started at two to three times the rate of the categories in which it competes. Dove sales rose 10.1% to $589.2 million in 2006, according to Information Resources Inc., after a 12.5% increase in 2005. That compares to only 2% in 2004, when the campaign launched in September.

I’m not sure the moms I know will go in for this much. After unglamourous days feeding, changing, cleaning and (sometimes) sleeping, being told they’re not pretty enough will probably spark rage rather than rampant consumerism.

Tags: body politics, media savvy

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