DOVE MAKES A SPLASH – BUT IS IT FOR THE WRONG REASONS?

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It’s nothing new that, as consumers, we buy into products that trigger an emotional response or resonate with a particular viewpoint or opinion. We’re hard-wired to love brands that ‘get’ us and could quite easily be a friend…if they were a person, that is! That’s why, for years, Dove has been a close ally of women, tapping into some females’ self-deprecating nature and encouraging them to love their bodies just as they are, lumps and all!

However, the much-loved cosmetic brand got itself into a lather this week when it launched a collection of limited edition ‘body-shaped’ bottles, as part of its Real Beauty campaign.

The six bottles were created to reflect the unique body shapes of consumers and empower females to embrace their shape and feel confident. In a statement, Dove said: “Each bottle evokes the shapes, sizes, curves and edges that combine to make every woman their very own limited edition. They’re one of a kind – just like you.”

So far, so Dove, right? Not quite. The beauty message turned a little ugly when people took offence rather than inspiration from the campaign. Twitter became awash with comments that questioned whether it was really necessary – or desirable – to match our body wash to our body shape.  Others pointed out that, despite diversity being one of the key messages, all the bottles were in fact white. The campaign also triggered a series of comical memes ridiculing the iconic brand for trivialising such a sensitive subject.

The question is, however, have we all played into Dove’s hands by facilitating the campaign and accompanying video to go viral? The bottles aren’t for sale (yet) and were sent to influencers and fans, so it’s plausible that the whole idea was an attempt to get us talking and spark a debate on body confidence.

For a brand that has always prided itself on being the voice of the ‘real woman’ (whoever that may be!), it seems odd that such a backlash wasn’t considered and it will now be interesting to watch how it deals with the mass criticism coming its way. Will Dove use it as a way to shine the light on how we’re all so body conscious that the last thing we’d want is to see our shape immortalised as a bottle in our shower? Or, will it soak up the drama and plot the next, potentially controversial, campaign?