Friday, February 03, 2006
Adweek columnist Barbara Lippert gushes over the Dove Super Bowl spot — and ultimately presents even more reasons to hate the work (see Essays 119 and 340 for additional Dove rants).
Lippert admits, “It’s not the most original spot, or at all surprising — the look and tone are very much in keeping with the much-publicized previous spots that showed “real women” as part of its Campaign for Real Beauty — but it is powerful. It’s also beautifully executed, and there’s no other way to say it: It brought tears to my eyes.”
Well, any commercial that renders Lippert weepy has got to be shit.
The descriptions hint at potentially flawed and biased perspectives.
Lippert writes, “[The spot] features slow cuts of a multicultural array of typical girls, ages 6 to 16, looking beautiful in supersaturated light, staring straight at the camera. Subtitles tell us that one thinks she’s fat, another thinks she’s ugly and another wishes she were blonde.”
Why is it OK to presume a dark-haired minority child would wish she were blonde? Is Dove breaking beauty stereotypes with these images and subtitles, or is the brand actually perpetuating the mess? Do girls so young aspire to these standards? Given the falling interest in the traditional Barbie doll — versus the soaring success of Bratz dolls and characters like Dora the Explorer — one might wonder if the highlighted beliefs are truly indicative of today’s kids. More likely, it all reflects the insecurities of the Baby Boomers behind the message. Surely celebrities like JLo and Beyoncé have helped redefine the stereotypical standards, despite the ladies’ glamorous appearances.
While music videos and programs like American Idol continue to push ultra-beauty ideals, a lot of research indicates the youth generation has fewer self-esteem issues — thanks in part to contemporary parents who praised and nurtured their children.
The perpetrators credited with hatching the Dove Super Bowl concept are Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin, the women who brought us the infamous Neil French debacle. Now the duo is arguably pushing sexist imagery and attitudes to sell soap. French must be choking on his stogie somewhere.