Learn­ing from the Dove Fi­asco

A look at what our ex­perts said about Dove’s 3-se­cond GIF that was deemed racist.

The Brand Reporter - - EDITORIAL | CONTENTS - By Su­raj Ram­nath & Ash­wini Gan­gal

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

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