For those who have been crying salty tears over the new Dove Experiment that's been circulating around the interwebs, I understand your emotional response. After all, this ad features top notch production quality, a moving musical score, dramatic close-ups, and a small smorgasborg of "real women" types. Dove is renown for producing sentimentality at its finest, and with an advertising budget of around 8 million per year it's no wonder they generally succeed in creating moving, convincing ads. I was feeling sentimental too until I read this article, and was reminded that the same company who owns Dove also owns Axe body spray.
Yes, that's right. Axe. The company which suggests in no uncertain terms that if you use their product, random women will hump vegetables in supermarkets:
They also suggest that billions of blond, latina, and asian women will literally come running, scantily clad, to you:
Lastly, they want to assure you that imagining women in their underwear walking down the street is totally normal bro:
Now Unilever I understand that these are separate campaigns aimed at separate audiences but it's the same audience (women) who is hearing both messages from the same messenger. And how are we expected to splice these messages in a way that makes us feel like supporting the company which is selling both products? Are we supposed to think that this woman humping vegetables should be proud of herself for committing such a self-demeaning act because other people still think she looks pretty while doing it? And regarding those billions of women who come running like wild animals, they look a little underfed and model-like, not like the "real women" featured in the Dove ads. And hey, why no dark skinned ladies? Were they not "pretty enough" to be a part of the billions of uniform, indistinguishable women? And as for the last video: how are we expected to feel secure about our physical appearance when you're saying it's okay for men to imagine women in their underwear in public, which is not only creepy but smacks of rape culture?
Clearly there are some mixed messages going on here. My solution? Just create one ad which marries the new Dove campaign to their Axe counterparts and cut down on the confusion and production costs. Imagine It This Way: You could have the forensic scientist, preferably a white male in his early 30s or late 20s, trying to sketch this really attractive skinny woman, but he keeps envisioning her wearing only her panties and it's distracting. Suddenly, she rips off her clothes and starts humping the white chair. Just then, an indistinguishable hoard of underfed, light-skinned women rush in and start chasing him around. These women are also wearing nothing but panties, and begin humping the furniture, the sketch pads, maybe even those cute white curtains, frantically trying to get his attention to the point where he can't concentrate on his "art" and, collapsing, is crushed by a sweaty pile of panting and gyrating naked women. There, ladies, are you still tearing up?