Today: What advertisement made you think this year?
I know it’s not new this year, but I continue to be awed and moved by Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. The top video is the one I know best, and every time I see it I find myself almost breathless with a combination of anger and panic. I feel angry and also sad about all of the hours and energy that I and many wonderful women I know have wasted worrying about what we look like and whether we fit into the impossible mold that society presents us. I feel panicked about how to arm my seven year old daughter to go out into this world’s relentless onslaught, how best to shore up her own self-esteem so that she is rocked as little as possible by these influences.
I think it is tremendously brave of a big beauty company to advertise in this way. With the caveat that I don’t really know very much about Dove (though their parent, Unilever, was many years ago a client of mine) my impression is that this is precisely the combination of doing good and doing well that I more passionately wish more of the business world would aim for. This company seems to be using their brand and their clout to speak out against the norm, to stand in the torrent and face the other way. I admire this tremendously.
Dove makes a powerful statement by showing women, young and old – though I imagine it is with the young that this may have the most germane impact – images of beauty in which they can see themselves. They throw open the definition of beauty and challenge the viewer to think more expansively about what it means. They seek to illuminate the societal cues about attractiveness that many of us have internalized for what they are: merely a single, narrow view on what is really a much more polymorphous and complex issue. Bravo, Dove.