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Dove Vs. Axe: Is Unilever Hypocritical?

Illustration for article titled Dove Vs. Axe: Is Unilever Hypocritical?

AdWeek reports that advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood started a letter-writing campaign to Unilever, blasting the "hypocrisy" in running Dove ad campaigns which promote healthy self-images for women while also funding sexist and degrading Axe body spray ads. Josh Golin, associate director of the CCFC, says, "Dove [is] positioning itself as a brand that cares and is trying to teach girls to resist this messaging. At the same time Unilever, in the form of Axe, is putting out some of the worst messaging there is." Over on AdRants, writer Angela Natividad writes that the seemingly conflicting campaigns just come from brands that know their demographic. She argues,

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"How does BET get off showing naked, sweaty, gyrating women in music videos all week long, but broadcast gospel music — choirs and all — on Sundays? Because it knows its demographic. That's right: the average BET watcher probably can watch music videos and enjoy gospel on Sundays without thinking twice. [A] mom, touched by Dove's wise branding message, might buy Dove shampoo for her young daughter, but permit her teenage son to use Axe deodorant. She may never consider that action hypocritical."

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While we understand that Unilever is a parent company, trying to be all things to all people, we wonder: Can't they find a way to advertise their body spray to boys without objectifying women in the process?

Advocacy Group Blasts Unilever's 'Hypocrisy' [AdWeek]
CCFC Condemns Unilever for Hypocrisy, We Say Bull [AdRants]

Earlier:
Tweenage Wasteland
The Inconvenient Truth Behind Dove, The Love-Your-Body Beauty Company
Beauty Company Attacks Little Girl (And Other Beauty Companies) With Image Blitz

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DISCUSSION

The Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" is a marketing ploy targeted at those of us who detest the way women are exploited by the media, but also have a weakness for beauty products. Don't forget that the Dove campaign featuring "curvy" ladies is in fact an ad for "firming" lotion i.e., cellulite cream. You didn't see any cottage cheese on those ladies' thighs did you? Dove also has a line of anti-aging products. They sure know how to get us where it hurts the most. I like to think of the Campaign for Real Beauty as a front for company that specializes in selling women useless products we buy because companies like Dove repeatedly tell us how fat, ashy, lumpy, spotty, smelly and wrinkled we are.