Sunday, April 08, 2007

Is America's FCC stupid - or is Dove just Very Clever?

In February, Dove launched their new Pro-Age ad campaign featuring four 50+ women wearing... well nothing actually. Shocked by the appearance of... wait for it... "too much skin"!!! America's advertising watchdog, the FCC, banned the ad - while Britain Canada and the rest of the world continue to watch it ad without the slightest concern.

Now let's be clear, if you have not see the ad, these these are probably not images that are going to make it to "Page 3" or any other glamour magazine, they are not full frontal, in fact I have seen far more provocative images on MTV and in shower Gel ads. The images were tasteful, very much on the lines of Helen Mirren and Julie Walters in calender Girls - Hey why not see for yourself...

Dove - Banned Pro-Age Ad

Alternatively you could pop over to the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty web site where they are not just showing the ad, but encouraging a debate on the issues around the ban and showing short film of American women's attitudes to the ad. The ban has created an outcry of foul across the US and the rest of the world and Dove is using that outcry to leverage it's campaign - Clever?

I do not have a TV so have not seen the ads in the UK but I read blogs and 2 months on this story just will not go away. Could Dove have got that much publicity if the ad had not been banned? Unilever, who own the Dove Brand are very experienced marketers and Dove have never been afraid of being controversial in the past. I have not seen any reports of lawyers challenging the ban - which may simply be because I have not see the reports :) But is it possible that this ban is actually doing more to further the campaign than if it were shown? Did Dove already think that this would get banned when they released it? Or is Dove simply demonstrating how to take advantage of a situation? Or is the answer to all three questions "Yes"?

Have a look at another short Dove video...

The Evolution of Beauty (1:14 mins)

This Evolution of Beauty video clearly shows where Dove is positioning this campaign. They are out to change attitudes towards feminine beauty, not to push back the boundaries on US morals. In order to change attitudes what they need is - controversy - debate - discussion - and that is exactly what they got - The ban is a dominant topic in the Blogosphere, the ad is being viewed thousands of times daily on You Tube, Google Video and elsewhere - costing in advertising spend... absolutely nothing. And it has been discussed at length on TV shows including a huge endorsement from Oprah Winfry - you just can't buy this kind of PR.

All in all I would say a very successful ad campaign.

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