Dove hits a steep learning curve
In recent years, Dove has worked hard to associate its name with women’s issues. Even so, 2017 proved to be a rough year. Accused of racism after a bogus version of one of its ads ran online, the brand also had to deal with an unexpected controversy sparked by its limited collection of curvy bottles.
This marketing initiative launched in the UK seemed innocuous enough at first glance. Dove came out with new bottles in six different shapes and sizes, meant to portray all the diversity of the female body. NOT a good idea.
The Fail :
Feminist outrage poured in from all sides. The company was accused of perpetuating sexism in advertising by classifying women according to their physical appearance. Instead of using women as an object, here the object becomes a woman in order to promote the brand. The six versions of the product represented just as many examples of female stereotypes. And pressure groups were quick to point out that no one should make purchasing decisions based on the shape of their body.
The Moral :
Packaging is one of the first consumer product contact points; it establishes a direct relation between the customer and the brand. It is a decisive communication tool. So it can be extremely tempting and effective to use it to convey a message. However, there are some messages, such as the beauty and diversity of women, that simply can’t be packed into a bottle.
Source image : Dove