Whilst Dove led the way and opened so many doors in marketing to ‘real’ women, it appears their latest campaign has failed to impress? Why? Below, Sam Ellison, one of our founders believes that Dove needs to once again focus on truly understanding a woman’s perspective moving forwards if trust is to be restored.
Over the past few years it has been exciting to see advertising to women shunted forwards and be catapulted out of the antiquated and stereotypical marketing that went on for far too long. Dove’s socially conscious iconic ‘Real Beauty’ campaign empowered women to embrace their bodies and ooze confidence, whatever their size or shape – liberating them from the shackles of the ‘beach body perfect’ stereotype. It was a strategic move by a savvy brand that used integrity and transparency to redefine the modern concept of women. It was massively successful – and women loved it!
So why has their latest limited edition collection of body wash bottles –intended to represent different body shapes – fail to impress their marketing savvy consumers? Simply it was too contrived – the tongue in cheek design of curvy, skinny and pear shaped bottles to reflect women’s body shapes was inconsistent with the tone of voice Dove generally use to speak to their female audience. Dove had drifted away from its core brand values with an oversimplified portrayal of women’s bodies and it poked fun at the trust that had built up over time.
Perhaps Dove’s quest to continue their strategy of empowering women through campaigns built around physical appearance has been an oversight. Female consumers are dictating a fast pace of change, which demands more intuitive marketing, and Dove seem to have overlooked the importance of building a deeper understanding of her perspective, through intellectual and emotional connection.
Marketing to women is a science that requires a delicate and nuanced approach (and there is a fine line between getting it right and wrong). It may be more appropriate to stop thinking of Dove women as ‘real’ – all women are real – but help brands to truly understand a woman’s ‘perspective’ – the roles she plays and how brands can fit into her life – connecting with her on an emotional, practical, functional and creative platform.
And with evolving aspirations for wellness and experiences, a need for flexibility, recognition and self-development, it will be the brands that engage and entertain their female audience on an intuitive level – and give them an emotional and intellectual incentive to spend time with them – that she will trust.