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By now, everyone will have seen the recent Dove campaign and I’m guessing that you – like me – think it’s utterly, utterly brilliant.
But why is that?
Well, without doubt it’s a fantastic premise.
Intriguing, interesting and thought provoking.
It’s absolutely beautifully and brilliantly told, a perfect blend of grace and pace.
It gets back – after some fairly wrong turns – to the heart of the brands point of view.
But for me, the really brilliance of it, is because it’s real.
It’s based on a genuine truth and it’s delivered without being contrived or ‘addy’.
That said, there was one moment at the very beginning that made me a bit nervous.
It’s where the very first woman talks about how her friends have “rosy cheeks” whereas hers were “pretty ___________ plain”.
That pause between the words “pretty” and “plain” seemed very convenient, but it was expressed in such a genuine way, it didn’t distract you.
But all in all, I loved it.
A bloke from Nottingham, who has no hair and no sophistication.
Hell, even Ryan – one of my creative colleagues who aspires to be Chuck Norris’ lovechild – even adored it, and he only appreciates women who work at Hooters.
Trust me, when you get dodgy blokes AND the female target audience all feeling it’s power, then you know you’re on to something good.
No camera tricks.
No ‘cool sound track’.
No ‘shock tactic headlines’.
No ‘advertising twist that reveals the brand as the hero at the very end’.
Just a great truth expressed cleanly and clearly but with genuine warmth, compassion and meaning.
This is what great advertising is and what great advertising does.
It changes how you feel, behave and believe.
It disrupts your autopilot.
It affects you from the inside, out.
If shifts how you see things and how you approach things.
It stops you in your 100mph tracks – even if just for a few seconds – and makes you think.
It affects more than just the ‘target audience’, but anyone with a heart and emotions.
Not because it’s a ‘global human truth’, but because it’s global human understanding.
Understanding of our deeply held emotional flaws, secrets and insecurities … which highlights why anyone who says insights no longer matter is a fucking fool.
As soon as I saw it, I rang my wife and said, “you have to watch this.”
It made me want to pass it on and there wasn’t a hashtag – or associated social media hypefest – anywhere in sight.
In short, it let the work do the talking. And the spreading.
Of course some people don’t like it.
And while some of that is definitely true, in my mind they’re missing a fundamental point.
This is not about rational reality, it’s about emotional positivity.
Women are so surrounded by negative imagery that I find it amazing that people would criticise a brand that tries, even in a small way, to counter it.
Yes, Dove could, and should, have used more women from different cultural backgrounds … yes, Dove could, and should, have used women with more diverse ages and body shapes … yes, Dove still talk more about looks than character … and yes, Dove still have much more they can do [especially when they still make hypocritical products like this] however the issues they so brilliantly raise in this campaign are things that are deeply and emotionally affecting most women – regardless of age, culture or size [which is a major difference to some of Dove's previous campaigns] – which is why I’m pretty certain the masses will be embracing the positives of the message rather than focusing on any potential negatives. At least initially.
And that’s why I find the issue that is raised regarding the methodology baffling.
Sure from a scientific experiment perspective it has issues, but this isn’t a scientific experiment, it’s a simple demonstration – around a very true insight – that many women often only see their flaws and so by highlighting how others see them in totally different and positive ways, it might help them to stop being so hard on themselves.
Seriously, it’s not a hard concept to grasp … and the use of the Forensic guy, however potentially flawed, is a twist that both intrigues and reinforces the point.
The very, very important point.
For me, the guy criticising the methodology is forgetting this is not about the process, but the result.
By his reckoning, maybe we should stop making films about Superman, Harry Potter, Winnie The Poo and Santa because they all embrace flawed logic.
Superman can’t fly, Harry Potter can’t cast spells, Winnie can’t talk and Santa doesn’t exist.
Maybe he would say yes, but maybe he is forgetting this is about motivating and engaging human beings, not robots or test subjects.
There are many things that can be thrown at this spot, but all in all, I can’t agree with most of them. At least not now.
If in the future, they fail to address some of the negative commentary – especially the lack of cultural, age and body diversity from an executional perspective – then people might have more of a point, but this is great work based on truth, not ‘advertising truth’ and it’s 1,000 times better than the usual shit put out by this industry. And, to a large degree, most of Dove’s previous campaigns promoting ‘real beauty’.
I don’t even think you can claim this is just an ‘ad’ because in my mind, it’s much, much more than that.
This is something that can genuinely affect people – and sales – in a positive way.
Something that will last longer than the few minutes it takes to watch.
For all the work done around Dove’s ‘campaign for real beauty’, this might be the one that embodies it most and best.
I love it and I’m insanely jealous of it.
Congratulations Ogilvy, you have set the standard you will now be judged by.
That might sound scary, but it’s not meant to be, it’s brilliant – especially coming from me, supposedly the most cynical and insecure man in the World.
What with this and the Marmite ad [which was definitely just an ad - but a bloody good one - despite what Mr Dodds might say], it’s been a pretty good month for showcasing the best of adland. Here’s to keeping it up, for all our sakes, especially our Bank Managers.
If you think I am waxing lyrical about the DOVE ad now, you should read what I said when Campaign magazine stupidly/kindly asked me what I thought about it, the day it came out.
Jesus, I don’t know if I’d be that enthusiastic if Forest made it into the Premiership – which I know they won’t so you can shut up about it – though I am rather happy they quoted me saying “It’s worth 10,000 episodes of Oprah”, if only for the fact three of my friends are such Oprah groupies, they will go fucking bananas when they read it.
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