Dove has moved their marketing strategy away from merely using "Real Women" as models and towards manipulating "Real Women" as part of totally unscientific experiments that prove nothing. The latest iteration of this project is Dove Patches, a patch for your arm full of a magic substance that makes you feel more beautiful.
What brilliant former psychology major comes up with these ideas? At the start of the commercial, we meet several unassuming women who have been brought to meet with Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke, who is a real doctor at The Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute specializing in eating disorders and body image issues. She "prescribes" the women RB-X, a patch that has an unidentified substance in it. The women are supposed to wear it and report back about how it makes them feel about themselves. Miraculously, they feel better about how they look just from wearing it. So they're shocked when they head back to the doctor and find out that there's...
...in it. CUE TEARS. This is not a joke. There are tears.
Maybe those tears are because these women have just been duped into thinking there's something they can take to make them feel beautiful that isn't a patch version of an anti-depressant. Maybe it's because they've just realized that they've allowed themselves to be filmed for a national ad campaign. I don't know their lives. And neither does Dove! So it'd be nice if they stopped assuming that everyone's version of hating what they look like or not feeling self-confident involves tears and can be fixed with a little Dove Reality Check™ or whatever they're calling it this week.
"We have heard from thousands of women about how their complicated relationship with beauty affects their overall confidence and happiness," Jennifer Bremner, brand building director of skin cleansing for Dove told Mashable. "By illustrating through the Dove: Patches film that a positive state of mind and openness can help them feel more beautiful, we hope to inspire all women and help change the way they see themselves."
It's definitely true that positive thinking works miracles. But that's not what this campaign is really about; it's about teaching women that Dove knows better. Dove is smarter. You should buy Dove because they're on your side and they can teach you things. In a post I did yesterday querying which ads convinced people to buy a product they might not have before, several women admitted that the original Dove Real Beauty got them on the Dove bandwagon, so the brand's decision to keep building on that goodwill was obviously a smart one. With Real Beauty and subsequent campaigns, Unilever has basically turned Dove into a brand that's more associated with empowerment than its own products. That in itself is far more impressive than the fake magic properties of RB-X, which again, is not for sale – though Dove has a bevy of other products for you to choose from instead.