Real beauty

Today, I was reminded of how much I dislike advertising: having depleted my supply of fancy soap, I’m currently using a bar of Dove I picked up at the supermarket (no choice).

Dove is often talked about with awe or envy in marketing departments, for the bold departure it marks from Unilever’s other statements about beauty, photoshopped into a constant alienation of real people. The colorful back story has family members of senior brand executives enrolled in a boardroom coup, a dramatic climax in the internal battle for the campaign, before it was shown to the public. How daring, how genuine, such amazing trailblazers! Activists at the heart of the machine! And obviously, everybody loves business success.

But for all its high-brow (and well-executed) advertising, Dove is a range of medium-quality industrial detergents: it washes poorly and feels unclean, and makes me smell funny. And this simple fact matters very little in the marketing scheme of things.

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