So that Dove video?


 (Image source)

I lost my cool slightly on Facebook, and I should know better. I posted a comment on my own, private Facebook page, about how I felt this video, which is doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, was pointless, and a marketing ploy for a huge company.

I got told off, and lectured on how I needed to see the “glass half full situation” and that it was an amazing video, and I needed to see the point of it.

So, instead of ranting on Facebook, I thought I would blog about it, and explain why I don’t like the Dove video.

I am a recovered Bulimic and Anorexic. I spent 6 years of my life struggling with diagnosed eating disorders, which nearly killed me, and have had issues with self-image, and my appearance for as long as I can remember. I will admit to struggling to like my post two babies body, and I do occasionally wince when I look in the mirror and see the lines forming round my eyes, and I have pulled out a few grey hairs recently, but at 37, I am slowly learning to be comfortable in my own skin, and I am trying to teach my own children, particularly my daughter, to feel better about her self-image, and not teach her the habits that brought me to a place where I was starving myself or binging and purging because I loathed what I saw in the mirror and felt hideously ugly, no matter what anyone told me.  I am trying to protect her from marketing, from the media, and from what some views the world has on what is acceptable in terms of shape, size, skin tone, clothing style, I could go on….

I want her to love herself, feel happy with her body,  and who she is and how she looks, and to never experience what I went through, and what I have seen others go through. I also want to instil in my son, respect for all  women,  that beauty is more than what  a woman wears, or how much make up she has on, and that sexy clothes don’t = beauty, and I hope he learns from his father, who is an excellent example to him,  on how to respect a woman, and love her for her true self, and not because she looks a certain way.

The thing is, I LIKE the idea of what is being said in that video. I think we are all far too critical of our own appearances and images, and we spend so much time and money-making ourselves into what we feel we SHOULD look like according to what has been imposed on us, in terms of beauty standards. I think the media and social networks contribute to this, and the cosmetics and beauty industry is one of the worst ringleaders in terms of influence. I do think we need to be kinder to ourselves, and see our true beauty, but this video, made by Dove, which is a brand from Unilever, is not the way to go about it. Sharing it on Facebook and Twitter, and where ever else you hang out on social media, is not going to change anything, or make a difference. Dove and Unilever may claim to be trying to encourage “real” beauty but in reality, they want us to see the video, remember their brand, and then the next time we go shopping to buy that brand, because we associate it with a video that has “made us feel better about ourselves”. Pure product marketing at it’s finest.

I can’t celebrate, or share a video from a company that makes and sells countless ranges of beauty products aimed at making ourselves more beautiful, slimmer, firmer, less wrinkly. Uniliver and Dove have a VAST list of beauty products they pimp and market out in the name of “beauty”. Their website is full of mission statements about making young girls feel confident about their bodies, and changing the way women view themselves, which is lovely, and all very well-meaning, but of course, the aim is to market Dove products to achieve this. It’s all a marketing ploy, and I don’t believe for one minute, that they are any more interested in helping women with self-image than any of the other cosmetics/beauty companies out there.

You only have to Google their parent company, to see that they have come under the spotlight for some serious issues, as well.

I can’t get behind this video, despite the fact that I like the message it is trying to promote. I won’t share it, or gush over it, and if you try to share it on my Facebook page I will delete it. It likely will go the same way as the Kony videos from last year, people will share it, and it will go viral, but then it will disappear into the vast space that is the internet, as the next video or image comes along to take its place.

So there you go, folks. That’s how I feel. If you feel differently, please feel free to share, I would love to hear thoughts. I don’t have a problem if you love the video, or love Dove products, but in my own personal space, I can’t celebrate this video or share it.




Posted in Everything else.


  1. I could not agree with you more Karen! The video is a brand-building exercise. Brand-building is part of advertising. The purpose & function of advertising is to encourage, persuade or manipulate an audience to continue or begin a behaviour which leads to sales.

    The video suggests “we believe in real beauty & self-acceptance” and because its difficult to argue against that as a principle, considerable consumer bias shifts favourably towards the brand. Brand awareness boost! Advertising awards! Sales & market-share increases! Hooray!

    But, actually, it leaked out that Dove didnt want flawed skin, scars, curves or athleticism as part of its real beauty campaign:

    If a brand waves principles about, it has to be really careful that it upholds them on every level. If not, the brand becomes a known hypocrite. eg Burberry (brand focus: British to the core! reality: made in China), MacDonalds, Coca-Cola & Heineken (brand focus as Olympic sponsors: health & sport. reality: it’ll rot your guts!),

    Also, individual brand values should not be confused with values held by a parent company. Unilever used its Vaseline brand to introduce a facebook app in India which allowed users to lighten their skin in profile photos… clearly not promoting real beauty for that market at the moment, are they? why? because that is not where the money lies. And ultimately, potential sales is what drives brand strategy & advertising budgets. We all forget that bottom line sometimes, in a bid to feel warm & fuzzy… that too is part of the strategy.

    • Thank you. I am glad you commented, and gave more info and details. I wasn’t sure how much to put in my post, but what you said is very helpful. My blood pressure is back down to normal now! 😉

    • Did you actually read the nymag article you linked? And the comments? Turns out the casting advert was a fake attached to a gmail address.

      • I didn’t read the article, because it was in a comment, so not directly linked from me and I hadn’t had time to look at it properly, I must admit, I just skimmed it briefly. It does appear that it was a fake advert, but that doesn’t sway the fact that Dove is a cosmetics and beauty brand, marketing it’s products, in a way, that a lot of women probably fall for. As I said, I don’t believe they actually care about women’s self image any more than the other big brands. It’s all about marketing and revenue. You can easily find articles and reports on Unilever, from reputable sources to see some of the not so “nice” stuff linked to them. Not really a company I would celebrate or want to say made me “feel better about myself”. Thank you for your comment, and pointing out the article.

  2. You make very good points. I thought the video was powerful, the message so true that we are our own worst critics. But if we believe for one second it was made without thought of benefiting the company behind it, we are being naive. Still I think the message is spot on.

    • The message is so powerful, and true, and I like what it had to say, I just struggle with the messenger. I guess that’s the thing with these things that go viral on FB and Twitter, people don’t check where the message is coming from. It’s a hard one, the message is good but the motive behind it is not, so do we support it or not? 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  3. Yes I read it. The article i linked to clearly says that Dove did not.approve the casting advert… and this was echoed in all the numerous other articles on the subject, including this press statement by Dove: ‘Unfortunately, this casting notice was not approved by the brand or agency team and did not reflect the spirit of the brand team’s vision. We appreciate that this has been brought to our attention, and we are taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future.’

    Does disowning the casting agency (who they brief & pay to recruit people for their ads) let them off the hook?

  4. Totally agree, a marketing ploy from a company that wants to profit from the idea of marketable beauty. The women were not diverse I thought and at the end of the day they are a cosmetic company. I don’t believe they believe in their message.

  5. I think that the media on the whole have a lot to answer for in how they portray women. One of my favourite songs is ‘Affirmation’ by Savage Garden and no truer line is one they have written which goes ‘I believe that beauty magazines promote low self-esteem’. Thank you for sharing this post with PoCoLo xx

  6. Marketing is all about setting their stall out to get what they want regardless of the emotional effects on other. a prime example is Pasty Kensit on Weight Watchers .. x

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