Learning from the Dove Fiasco
A look at what our experts said about Dove’s 3-second GIF that was deemed racist.
DOVE HAS ALWAYS DONE VERY INSIGHTFUL AND POWERFUL WORK WITH THEIR PROPOSITION/ BELIEF OF ‘REAL BEAUTY’
in most part of the world; it’s very surprising thus, to see this piece of work which lacks heart and soul and is in contrast to their belief. It’s just a purely unbelievable product demo (very rarely must they have done such unbelievable over the top work) where they are saying they wanted to convey diversity, but unfortunately failed to communicate that. This is where I feel you need the experts, the story tellers, those who have been trained and have been doing this for years which will obviously come at a cost but who will convey the message correctly - be it in a single frame, GIF or a 30 second film.
GIVEN THE SOCIAL CONTEXT, I FIND THAT THE BRAND’S JUDGEMENT TO GO AHEAD WITH SUCH AN
advert is wrong. While I don’t think the ad itself is overly racist; the product description which reads ‘Normal to Dark Skin’ sounds very racist. That’s really asking for it, especially when this comes on the back of another 2011 Dove ‘Before/After’ ad which got flak for a similar issue. I don’t think the brand meant it the way it sounds, but that’s when one would expect a seasoned marketing company not to mess up; especially on a brand which believes beauty is only skin-deep and that it’s the inner beauty that shines. It is ironic that they have managed to be embroiled over skin colour issues. This is going to hurt them.
BRANDS ARE KEEN ON BEING ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA 24X7 TO JOIN CONVERSATIONS AND TO PARTICIPATE
in the dialogues happening around the world. In this effort they are constantly looking for ideas that can become talk-worthy. The days of an agency taking one week for a print ad and a month or more for a TV campaign is under threat. But in the effort to be edgy and fun, a brand may step on to a minefield, the way Dove seems to have. The big new feature in the iPhone 8 seems to be the instant GIF creator, so we cannot find fault with Dove for trying to ride the GIF wave, but they seem to have stepped on a mine. I think Dove has apologised promptly and emphatically. A brand that does it quickly is often quickly forgiven by consumers.
I THINK BRANDS AND AGENCIES CAN CERTAINLY LEARN THAT THERE’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN
attitudes and ads. Don’t enter into the area of issues that are controversial — such as religion, race, creed and women’s issues — as they are all tricky. Brands and agencies have to be more careful today than they were in the past, as consumers have become hyper-sensitive.
1((5$- &+$7859(', Group CMO, Housing.com, PropTiger.com and Makaan.com
5$+8/ '$&81+$ owner, daCunha Communications
6$1726+ 3$'+, 3$''< co-founder and chief creative officer, Taproot Dentsu
0* 3$5$0(6:$5$1 $0%, brand consultant