Ok, need to put a warning on those things. PREGNANT WOMEN WHO ARE SO BIG THEY FEEL LIKE A BLIMP SHOULD NOT WATCH THIS WITHOUT A BOX OF KLEENEX!!!! So true and so beautifully produced. I think I will go take a bath with my Dove body wash now.
I felt manipulated when I saw it. How much did the forensic artist know about what he was doing when he made the two sets of portraits? Which is not to say that I don’t agree with the overall point. But I feel ambiguous about a comercial company getting involved in an area where women are very vulnerable. Also it is still focusing mostly on physical beauty and not on the beauty of a loving heart or character of integrity.
As someone with a degree in marketing, I see what selvi means. Yes, one wonders how much the gentleman doing the sketches was told…..I too immediately saw behind the scenes and even now can easily imagine the seedling discussions about this whole campaign. It still comes back to a company wanting to make money and to do so in an “acceptable” or even “honourable” way. I pick commercials apart naturally (began as a toddler, really) but I also see them at face value or as a consumer…..that said, the point of our seeing ourselves as beautifully as others see us is a worthy point. Reality is that a company wanting to make money found an angle that had not been done and one that it’s consumers would back and support.
It made you cry. That is exactly what they wanted it to do.
The idea of accepting oneself unconditionally right now, I’m all on board for that. Selling a product based on that. Ieh, not so much.
Oh, it’s definitely meant to manipulate and sell (though I appreciated its understated quality—no actual mention of the products they’re selling), and I couldn’t help but note that all the people in the experiment were quite attractive. And I thought the blonde woman articulated her revelation awfully clearly for someone caught on the spur of the moment. 🙂
Still, I like the ad’s message very much. We look at ourselves and see our flaws where other people may be noticing our positive qualities—and not necessarily framing things in terms of looks at all.
That’s a fantastic link, Tanita—thanks for sharing it. Her observations about screen time ratio are sobering, and this: “Oh, and by the way, there are real women who look like the women on the left. What are you saying about them, exactly?” really hits the point home hard. I don’t think it negates the ad’s overt message (when it comes to your looks, you are probably your own harshest critic) but it’s true there are covert messages present too, not all of them savory.
Meanwhile, I’ve spent the past week reading Tom & Lorenzo’s Mad Men style recaps, and talk about fascinating! Their commentary on how the clothes reflect the characters’ inner life. There’s a connection between those posts and this ad (especially given Mad Men’s explorations of persuasion, manipulation, and tropes in advertising and real life)…it’s swirling in my head, I’ll try to catch hold of it later.
Updated to say: the linked post seems to be talking about a longer version of the ad than the one I’ve posted here. I haven’t seen the long one yet.
Tanita, thank you for sharing that link. The writer neatly encapsulates my feelings about Dove (products, advertising etc) ….. On the surface, I tend to appreciate these ads. They are moving. And then …. And then …. I really look and them, and I actually think about them (as opposed to ‘feeling’ about them) and …. Right. There’s a lot — an unfortunate lot — of unsavory stuff going on there.
But anyway! Always good to check in on The Culture, and have the chance to chat about it! 🙂
I agree with all the thoughts about manipulation and the lack of diversity in the women in the ad, etc. — clearly, it’s a soap company out to sell soap and try to make us love them in the process.
But, here’s why it made me cry — one of the women said, “My mother always told me I have a big chin.” The way we *internalize things from our childhoods* and allow those things to define us can be so sad and limiting. It’s not so much about the outer beauty, but about the ways in which we criticize ourselves for things that *other people don’t even see.* We carry damaging images in our heads that are invisible to others. Others see things like a face that lights up with a smile — they don’t single out a big chin, or a big nose, or extra weight, or any of that stuff. (And as someone with a big chin, a big nose and extra weight, I am supremely qualified to make pronouncements.) 😉
Karen sent me to your comments section here. I didn’t want to say anything at the time because everyone seemed to like it so much but I greeted this with a giant eye roll. I thought how hard would it be to just tell the guy to make the second sketch more attractive? And then this passage and the following quote from the post linked above:
“I should be more grateful of my natural beauty. It impacts the choices and the friends we make, the jobs we go out for, they way we treat our children, it impacts everything. It couldn’t be more critical to your happiness.”
Did you hear that, ladies? How beautiful you are affects everything—from your personal relationships to your career. It could not be more critical to your happiness! ”
It couldn’t be more critical to your happiness? Yuck. They really killed the message with that line.
I mean yes, I get the point I just think this was poorly executed. The guy version on Karen’s blog though? That’s much more my style. 😉 😉
Since I was away for the weekend, I didn’t get to finish the discussion here, but I had to pop back in and say something that struck me on the long drive. Remember the scene in Mad Men, one of the early seasons, when Don and the others are looking at the Volkswagon “lemon” ad? Don loathes it, most of them do….but at one point Don says, “Well, say what you will—we’ve been talking about it for the last 20 minutes.” I’m looking at all these thoughtful discussions all over the web and thinking: say what you will, we’ve been talking about beauty and perception and media manipulation and messaging and all these things for the past week. 🙂