Dove is well-known for its campaigns promoting positive body and self-image in women however, a recent attempt by the brand has sparked some controversy… and even resulted in the resignation of one BuzzFeed editor.
The controversial campaign is called “Choose Beautiful” and women featured in the campaign are given the choice to walk through one of two doors… one labeled “beautiful” and the other labeled “average”. Most women choose to walk through the “average” door, then later appear in the advertisement expressing their changed perspective and regrets about not choosing the “beautiful” door.
So what exactly is so polarizing about this campaign that it was named 3rd in the list of the 5 Most Controversial Ads in Recent History on Entrepreneur.com and resulted in the resignation of an editor?
According to Fortune.com… “The video’s two-doors dilemma sprang from a 2004 Dove study called “The Truth About Beauty,” updated in 2011, that found that “only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful”; most say they’re “average.”
The article goes on to mention that the research that Dove conducts is not academic research, but rather marketing research and therefore makes the legitimacy of the self-proclaimed social experiment questionable.
Arabelle Sicardi, the BuzzFeed editor who resigned after writing a post criticizing the campaign argued that Dove’s tactic was to sell products by preying on insecurities which it’s advertisements and campaigns help perpetuate.
Sicardi writes in her post…
“You don’t have to be beautiful (or at the very least, you shouldn’t have to be), and not being beautiful doesn’t mean you’re average. Feeling beautiful is an obligation and a pressure — and sometimes a pleasure, but not always. Feeling beautiful is so much work: work that beauty companies cash in on and exploit.”
And she may have a point… If women weren’t told to think that they had to feel or be beautiful, why would we need the products that Dove or any cosmetic company sells for that matter? While the campaign seems like another step in the right direction, it comes as a double edged sword.