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What do you think of the Dove campaign for real beauty?

(47 Posts)
weightwatchingwaterwitch Mon 10-Jan-05 14:58:16

It's those ads with tick boxes and pictures of normal (i.e. not models) women with questions like 'Fit or Fat?' I'm just about to look at the website because I keep meaning to. I know it's only an ad campaign and I know they must be delighted to be getting the press coverage they're getting but I still think any debate about how real women get lost in adland has got to generally be a Good Thing. What do you think? site is here

dinosaur Mon 10-Jan-05 14:59:45

But are they really "real women"? Aren't they also models?

weightwatchingwaterwitch Mon 10-Jan-05 15:00:31

I think they're real women, I read interviews with them. The grey haired woman is an artist apparently.

PrettyCandles Mon 10-Jan-05 15:00:39

I loved their previous campaign with the pictures of ordinary youngish women of all shapes and colours in ordinary underwear. Haven't a clue what it was for - but I thought the images were great!

The cynic in me mutters that it doesn't make any difference, they're just doing it for publicity.

Mum2girls Mon 10-Jan-05 15:02:28

Got to be good news - hope it's more than a flash in the pan.

Tinker Mon 10-Jan-05 15:03:15

Not looked at the website but the options are stupid. The girl with the freckles is undoubtedly beautiful but you're asked to say "Flawed" or "Flawless". Well, neither and both.

warmmum Mon 10-Jan-05 15:07:00

Wow - I had forgotten about a project I did on my foundation course. I made a huge cloak from small squares of magazine pictures (why????!) and as you moved around the cloak you moved from baby pictures to teenagers adults and finally to old age. Do you know, I could find hardly ANY pics. of anyone over the age of about 35. I was shocked.

I think that this campaign by Dove is very important and a step on the road to breaking down the stranglehold that the fashion industry has on womens' images.

I can think of nothing nicer than being able to pick up a magazine, such as Vogue or Harpers or Red or Style and actually being able to picture myself as depicted on their pages. I know this is probably hoping for too much, but you never know.

Maybe they will come to the realisation that people with less than perfect figures and complexions have a disposable income as well. I guess money will be the driver at the end of the day.

Blu Mon 10-Jan-05 15:11:49

Tinker - yes, but, teasingly, isn't that the point, too?
Of course, all their 'unconventional' models ARE beautiful despite not being in the steretyped model zone - but what if you are 40 and not very fab? So, of course it's all a gimmick - but a positive gimmick, I think - and I love it!

Tinker Mon 10-Jan-05 15:19:19

Possibly Blu. Good article about it yin esterday's Observer reminding me about the M&S campaign that failed disastrously. Basically, this campaign (Dove's) is seen as good ie acceptable because the women are still very beautiful, they are not "ordinary" looking women. M&S campaign failed becasue she was too ordinary, people didn't want to see a wobbly bottomed size 16 or whatever (and even size 16 ( think it might have even been 14) was considered daring)

Yes, it might make some people think for a bit but who? Women know that they're not supposed to be taken in by media portrayals of women but most of us are despite that. Will men even be looking at it much?

Dove is owned by Unilever - don't trust any big pharamceutical company to have anything in mind other than profit. If they'd just used these women in their ads without making a big song and dance about it I'd maybe give them the benfit of the doubt more but, sorry, I'm a cynic on this.

franch Mon 10-Jan-05 15:19:28

I saw the posters on a tube escalator the other day - someone had gone to the trouble of getting out a marker pen and ticking all the "fat", "flawed", "wrinkled" etc boxes - sad

Blu Mon 10-Jan-05 15:34:25

Tinker - I think I'm becoming won over by your points! - esp the making a point of it rather than just doing it.

beansprout Mon 10-Jan-05 15:37:25

I like it. It is refreshing to see people you might actually know in an ad for a change, instead of 6 feet skinnies under 22.
The Body Shop used to have a similar approach, before it became ridiculously expensive.

crunchie Mon 10-Jan-05 16:10:56

I am quite cynical about this campaign. Yes I like the fact that 'real' women are being used but it is a brilliant bit of marketing that we are talking about. They were looking for a point of difference for their brand and it was just an extension of previous stuff, remember TV ads with 'real' people.

Than again I maybe being a bit bitter and twisted as I sell advertising and Unilever are the hardest nastiset client (ie they won't book!!) and our mag is PERFECT for them!!

motherinferior Mon 10-Jan-05 16:17:19

Also those glorious fat birds were a damn sight smoother and glossier than I look in my pants

[MI, short, greying, freckled, spare-tyred AND old]

beansprout Mon 10-Jan-05 16:18:38

MI - you do yourself an injustice, you are damn sexy you little fox!

aloha Mon 10-Jan-05 16:19:32

It's not a real campaign, except for Dove, and it's still all about women being judged on how they look and the size and shape of their bodies, only it's holier than thou because we are being invited to judge 'ordinary' women. I actually prefer judging models as that's what they are for, iyswim. I think reducing women with real lives to a face that has to be either be judged as 'flawed' or 'flawless' by other people is worse than opening a magazine and seeing a beautiful girl wearing expensive clothes. To me it's a bit like, my God, is there any time of life when we don't have be judged like this? Or is there really nothing more important about these women than how their faces look? The more I think about it, the more dehumanising I find it - which has surprised me a bit.

MrsBigD Mon 10-Jan-05 16:24:25

this discussion reminds me of the current thing going on on UK Living... change your life for good in 5 steps or something like that. The add is : woman goes into restaurant for 'romantic' dinner and in the end she ends up snogging herself in the mirror...

If you've seen it... you'll probably think I'm terrible but... the way the woman they're using in this ad is made up ... is that supposed to be before or after the make-over? I think it's garish!

sorry to hi-jack

MrsBigD Mon 10-Jan-05 16:25:05

oh and I'm not judging the woman herself, she's a bit voluptious etc but that's great... it's just the colours!

winnie1 Mon 10-Jan-05 17:01:53

I find this interesting as Anita Roddick and The Body Shop have been doing this for years. I am always quite sceptical of marketing campaigns generally and I don't use (and it wouldn't tempt me to use) Dove products. However, I do find it immensely encouraging to see a beauty campaign that depicts real women.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Mon 10-Jan-05 18:07:13

I'm not sure what I think about it either which is why I asked. May come back to this as no time now.

nasa Mon 10-Jan-05 18:11:25

Fit or Fat is just utter nonsense IMO, it's not even good copywriting

franch Mon 10-Jan-05 18:29:07

Yes aloha you've put into words the discomfort I was feeling about the tick boxes. I hate the fact that you're asked to 'vote' on their website as to whether the women are fit, fat, or whatever. Who are we to judge?

Soupytwiglettydragon Mon 10-Jan-05 18:46:08

You aren't asked to chose between "fit" or "fat"; it's terms like "outsized" or "outstanding", and for the lady with the freckles it's "Spots" or "beauty spots".

I think if it was done purely as an attempt to improving womens self-esteem regardless of whether they are conventionally attractive or not, then it would be a very positive thing. However, this is being done purely as a marketing campaign. Nothing is actively being done to raise awareness of how images in the media can give women negative self-images, and how such advertising shapes general attitudes towards the fat and unattractive (a group which I count myself part of, btw).

All of the models are beautiful, regardless of the fact that they are meant to have flaws in the eyes of society. I would have felt it more meaningful if they hadn't used obviously attractive models - although unfortunately I think more people would have responded negatively to images of wobbly tummies and unattractive models.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Mon 10-Jan-05 18:47:45

So which are you, a twiglett or a soupdragon? I am confused!

aloha Mon 10-Jan-05 19:06:48

But you are, very explicitly, asked to judge a woman. I think the Body Shop is different because those women are just there to show or embody the product, you aren't asked if they are ugly or beautiful. In fact, just by being used as models the Body Shop was saying, 'these women are attractive and appealing' - the Dove 'campaign' is asking people to look critically at women and judge them. I think a huge problem is that women are judged all the time on appearance alone, and often very harshly. I don't think this is any better than catcalling builders telling women to cheer up or that they have big boobs, frankly. Except of course that the Dove women are volunteers for this humiliating treatment. I hope they got paid well to have strangers dismiss them as 'wrinkled'.

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