Today, after 10+ years of relentless ads, Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” was named #1 in the Advertising Age list of top ad campaigns of the 21st century for its mission to, according to the magazine, “change societal notions about beauty.” Sorry, but I find that totally lame. I’m also really sick of hearing about this campaign. Of all the ad campaigns in the world, this one is the best? I think the campaign was thought up with positive intentions, and it definitely launched an important cultural conversation about societal norms – but changing norms? I’m not so sold on that one. Dove’s campaign does nothing to challenge the popular notion that beauty should be the most important thing in a woman’s life. It doesn’t aim to stop us from obsessing over looks, it just reframes the conversation about image to a supposedly more positive one. I hesitate to cut down any campaign that gets people thinking about what a monster the media body image machine is, and Dove has surely done some real good by encouraging self-acceptance. That said, it’s important to consider the problematic messages in Dove’s campaign and acknowledge it as a solid first step on a path to more ethical advertising rather than the authority on the subject.
Zergnet: Simply Irresistible