The Colbert Report recently spoke about a new product by Dove, their Go Sleeveless deodorant, that informs women that they can get attractive underarms in five days. Five days! What an arm pit revolution! Thank goodness that Unilever could pretty up our pits for us. What would we do without them?
Check out the clip below starting at 3:28 for Colbert’s hilarious (and yet cringe-inducing in its accuracy) analysis of Dove’s invention of a product to solve an invented ‘flaw’ in women.
Dove gets a lot of credit for their Campaign for Real Beauty and I have even used some of their videos in my presentation. However, Dove is owned by the same company that owns Axe. Yes, Axe, a brand that bases most of their advertising on telling young men that Axe products will make sex objects (a.k.a. the hyper-sexualized women in their commercials) throw themselves at them.
So, I would suggest the Dove’s advertising strategy is just that – an advertising strategy – that is still based on telling women that they will be so much better once they have Dove lotion/shampoo/conditioner/deodorant all over them. Dove is still part of the beauty industry that is set on “fixing” women and all the things “wrong” with them. Sure, they make you feel good about it sometimes and that’s nice. However, that feel good moment is there because it’s profitable.
Products are made to solve faux-problems all the time. Go Sleeveless is just one example. Colbert’s piece is a fantastic commentary on how companies are more interested in the bottom line than women’s self-esteem, no matter what their ads may tell you. So, whether it’s convincing you that your underarms are ugly or that you need the latest teeth whitener, they’re hoping that you hate your body enough to love their products.