Exposing the hypocrisy of Unilever's targeted marketing

Dove and Axe — which send diametrically opposed messages about women to their target audiences — are both made by Unilever. This video juxtaposes the two campaigns in order to raise awareness of the connection between the two.

Via The Hathor Legacy.

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This entry was posted in Advertising, Companies Behaving Badly, Gender Cultism, Gender issues, Popular Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Exposing the hypocrisy of Unilever's targeted marketing

  1. Zach S. says:

    But decision-making at a corporation as large as Unilever is probably done in a highly decentralized way, particularly with respect to marketing. The people who do Axe’s marketing probably never talk to the people who do Dove’s marketing. I mean, Unilever also owns Ben & Jerry’s, if I recall correctly, and that brand continues to be relatively eco-friendly despite the goings-on at Unilever’s other holdings.

    I mean, I really don’t like Axe’s marketing at all, and I’m not much a fan of the substance of Dove’s marketing, either(Everybody is beautiful! Which is why you should buy our needless beauty products!), but it strikes me that in a world where more and more commerce is controlled by mega-conglomerates it’ll grow increasingly difficult to find a brand that isn’t owned by an entity that has its fingers in something unsavory somewhere. If you accept that a brand is doing a good job, it seems counter-productive to punish them because another brand over which they have little control is doing a bad job.

  2. tekanji says:

    but it strikes me that in a world where more and more commerce is controlled by mega-conglomerates it’ll grow increasingly difficult to find a brand that isn’t owned by an entity that has its fingers in something unsavory somewhere.

    But that’s exactly the point. We shouldn’t have to settle for less because there’s nothing else. People need to be aware that brands are part of bigger corporations and what happens with their money when they support said brand.

    If you accept that a brand is doing a good job, it seems counter-productive to punish them because another brand over which they have little control is doing a bad job.

    There is no “punishment” going on here. There is much written on the Dove Ads taken by themselves, as well as the Dove Ads taken in the context of them selling a product (which is the issue that you mentioned). What this video is saying, however, is that there also needs to be discussion on the ad campaigns taken in the context of the corporation itself.

    The message that’s being sent to Unilever right now is that it can have its cake and eat it too: it can get points (via Dove) for being “woman friendly” and thus draw in the “girl power” crowd and at the exact same time it can get point with the “sex sells” liberal Nice Guys (TM) by exploiting women. What discussions like the video above is trying to generate are about is getting people aware of the issue so that they can stand up and say, “No. You either are for women, or against us. You can’t have it both ways.”

  3. Jason Barr says:

    tekanji hits it right on the head – we shouldn’t have to settle for less because there’s nothing else. This is the direction our society is going in so many areas, including media (with News Corp. and a few others buying every media outlet they can get their grubby paws on) as well as consumer goods. Dove is only one brand that is using what I call “activism-friendly marketing” with the “everyone is beautiful” type campaign. What seems to be happening is that corporate consumer-driven capitalism encourages the creation of “green” consumerism, “feminist” consumerism, and “anti-poverty” consumerism (for example the Red campaign). At no point are we encouraged to do what we actually ought to do – reconsider consumerism!

    I tend to think we need to work to create alternative structures within the society in whatever ways possible – to take ourselves out of the consumer-driven economy as much as we can. Implementing things like bartering, even gifting and re-gifting, work-trade, and other mechanisms could go a long way towards reducing the power of corporations over our lives, a power that we (at least to some extent) have given them.

    BTW the instant preview feature is awesome.

  4. Don’t forget, Unilever is also the company that makes Fair & Lovely skin lightener. I guess they only care about “real beauty” if it passes the brown paper bag test.

  5. bellatrys says:

    Ai – it’s as if Altria were selling cigs *and* the Patch both (for all I know, they *are*, too!) Made of Pander, Unilever!

    And Zach, unless you are an industry insider, your speculation about advertising campaign decisions ain’t worth zilch. (And if you *are* an industry insider, then you’re Concern Trolling as well as being disingenuous.)

  6. bellatrys says:

    Jason, it reminds me of the runup to the last UK elections, where a Tory party leader was talking about how they needed to reinvent themselves as a kindler, gentler Tory Party to get the votes of what he called “the wristband generation” – he was so clueless as to how *bad* it looked to be saying on the Beeb that they needed to work harder at crafting a targeted marketing message to convince the sincere altruistic young people of Gens X-Y-Z to buy their brand, and how absolutely obtuse a strategy this was, even *without* the getting quoted on the BBC website saying it!

  7. Pingback: Official Shrub.com Blog » Blog Archive » Why are body politics important? [Loving Ourselves, Part 4]

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