Unbelievably, only a couple of weeks ago we saw Dove take a dive into the feathery pit of campaign fails! Their bid to to impress their loyal consumer with a tongue in cheek portrayal of women’s bodies represented by different bottle shapes, disappointed all. Dove dared to drift away from their brand’s core messaging, but it was a step too far for their loyal and discerning consumer.
But Dove’s recent marketing attempt to empower women pails into insignificance after watching the latest advertising campaign by Special K. The brand we all knew for its infamous red swimsuit and promise of loosing weight with a 2 week diet plan decided to update its advertising with a modern feminist message….but their communication was all wrong!
In their 30-second advert, the brand attempts to empower and unite women, listing all the wonderful things they can do: “Our bodies grow babies; We run marathons, companies, solve problems.” And of course, whilst this is all true, they go on to state its because… “we eat.”Fans took to social media and branded the ad as patronising and shared how shocked they were by the claim that eating is a feminist act. ‘Women eat…’Own it’ has to be the dumbest slogan!’ shared one fan.
As a director of a branding communications agency with expertise in Marketing to women, I totally understand why brands are trying to sell empowerment to the female consumer. There is huge commercial potential! Women are the world’s biggest spenders and the most savvy on social media – get your messaging right and you will reep the rewards with likes and shares.
But brands have to be so careful about ‘how far they go down the road’ towards strong messaging around gender – if they have not invested time in truly understanding her. A nuanced and intuitive approach is crucial but you can be funny, intelligent and emotional – just let her join the dots and offer a real-life solution.
Special K in part were on track but there is a fine line between getting it right and wrong as they found out. If you cross that line you very quickly de-rail!