Dove have rolled out a new campaign called #ChooseBeautiful. They’ve linked it with an “experiment” (ie, advertising campaign) whereby they classified two doors as Beautiful and Average and then watched what happened. Lots of women chose average, there were discussions about how it reflected how they felt about themselves, and then Dove suggested women concentrated on thinking they were beautiful. Lots of people on social media are talking about what a great campaign it is.
What people need to remember is this: Dove are not doing this for the good of women. They are doing it for the good of their bottom line. Most women get up in the morning and Are. They don’t expect, and shouldn’t have, to choose whether to go through a door marked Beautiful or Average. If it were me, I’d look at the doors and walk away. I’m not in the business of classifying myself one way or the other and the idea of a cosmetics company running an “experiment (ie, advertising campaign) where they can use my choice as a stick to beat me with (ie, you should choose beautiful, not average) and then use it as a hook for an advertising campaign makes me a bit sick. I don’t use Dove beauty products by the way. I should just mention that.
When I go to a shopping centre, I don’t expect to have to judge myself.
When I go to a shopping centre, I don’t expect to be used as a hook for advertising.
When you make people – not I am not saying women there – people choose a label for themselves, and when you only provide two labels for them, you are making them judge themselves within your framework. That is not a free choice; it’s manipulating their opinion.
Most people see themselves on a continuum, not either or .
Mashable called it a powerful experiment. If it is powerful, it is powerful in that it pushes women again to judge themselves by appearance and to judge themselves in terms of beautiful or not beautiful.
Feeling beautiful is one of those choices that women should feel empowered to make for themselves, every day.
But Dove isn’t empowering women. They are forcing women to make a choice between options which they may not on a day to day basis make. They are forcing women to define themselves in terms of their appearance within an extremely narrow choice of options.
And at the end of the day, Dove are not in the business of making women feel good about themselves. They are in the business of making women buy more Dove products.