One of the first problems that arose when I began researching Dove and it’s Campaign for Real Beauty is the fact that Unilever owns both Dove and Axe. For those of you not familiar with Axe it is a male oriented brand that sells hair products as well as other hygiene/ bath & body products; however, Axe is not only famous of their products but because of their racy over sexed campaigns. Axe has been continuously criticized for being sexist, they ads often depict women half naked climbing over some guy that uses the Axe products- pretty demeaning stuff. The reason why Dove has been dragged into this is because the company Unilever owns them both. Many believe Dove has no right or is hypocritical for using this campaign for real beauty when Axe is doing probably the opposite- making women into sex objects and demeaning them.
Unilever defends both advertising strategies saying, the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a serious campaign that is trying to evoke change in society while the Axe ads are simply spoofs and obviously nothing to take seriously or to heart.
While, it is impossible to not see the level of contradiction between the two campaigns, it is important to remember that while they are both owned by Unilever they are still somewhat separate entities.
My personal opinion is that you cannot discount or disregard the import message Dove is presenting because another branch of products owned by the same company is dictating something different. Should Dove truly be held accountable for Axe advertising? While the ads are in contradiction to each other does the Axe ads completely override or blemish the positive message of the Dove ads? No, it shouldn’t. Simply because the brands are owned by the same company does not mean they have to or should have the same brand image. The two brands are also marketing to two very different groups of people- Axe would take a huge financial loss if they went to route Dove is going right now. The young girls being exposed to the Dove Self esteem are not the target audience for the Axe ads.
Check out these videos…
This video uses the same opener that one of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty ads, but places in the ads from Axe’s commercials instead of the content seen in the original commercial which is seen below. It has a point, but how good of a point?
This is the original ad from Unilever, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty showing all the negative body images girls are bombarded with.