Monday, May 15, 2006

Markoos rant© - unethical marketing

I’ve posted about Dove’s new direction in marketing in the past – y’know how they’re trying to show ‘real women’ in their ads and promoting that real women don’t need improvement (except they do need to buy Dove products).

We were discussing this campaign when I decided to revisit the dove website, but in doing so, I accidentally went to the US site.

Here is found all sorts of communication about how Dove was helping people feel better about themselves like the “dove self esteem fund” and ‘how do you really feel about yourself’ quizzes.

Whoop Whoop Whoop Whoop Whoop Whoop Whoop!

Uh, oh, the ethics alarm is going off.

I feel that it is wrong that dove is trying to leverage women's body image problems to sell more products.

They are capitalising on dangerous and crippling problems with the thinly veiled pretence that they care about these issues.

If they genuinely did, they would be spending the thousands of marketing dollars used for this site to donate directly to dedicated support organisations that can deliver real help to these people.

This site is not actually targeting people with the problem – no one with body image problems is going to actively seek out a beauty brand so they can talk about their problems on it.

This is designed to make the people who purchase these products feel better about themselves. Nothing more, and I think it’s very unethical.

They even have a ‘forum’ where people have written ridiculously glowing and fuzzy comments about how great dove is and what a fantastic job they are doing:

“Doves campaign for real beauty is doing what no other company has done before and you have to give them credit for that.”

I’ll let you make up your own mind about it, but I smell bullshit. The posts are a little too long and detailed and there are no negative comments to be seen and that makes me suspicious.

There’s no law against dove writing all the comments themselves, it’s just unethical and, if found out, they stand to lose a large share of their loyal market – no one likes to feel as if they’re being taken advantage of. Just look at the coke zero blog ("How many ad agencies does it take to patronise a demographic?") controversy where, after finding out they were being tricked, the market revolted and spawned anti-sites.

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