Advertising touches different aspects of a society more enhancing recognition of products. The images in most ads tend to be idealized as they set the standards in which individuals strive to live up to. Therefore, the ads serve to manifest what ideal image looks and telling more on how to obtain the product. In this perspective, ads can be used to promote negative and positive image based on the roles played by elements in the adverts. It’s ironical that the negative images from the adverts contribute to the success of the product into the market. Its easier to comprehend the intended appeals and message which the visuals from an advert focus to promote among the audience (Green, n.pag). In this note, the modern world is filled with controversial ads that have received many criticisms from the general public in regards to the visual elements presented in some ads. Some ads portray different issues in the society for instance feminism, racism and inferiority roles of different groups of people. In this context, this paper seeks in providing comprehensive research on Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ ad campaign that has been perceived as a controversial and based on the slogan and the visual image contained in the ad.
The Unilever Company created the Dove ‘Real Beauty’ ad to promote the message of embracing inner beauty by every individual. The ad contains a visual image for ‘visible crème body wash’ that represents ‘Real Beuty’ for the campaign conducted in the year 2011. The video has more than 114 million viewers making the ad most popular of all time. The ad purpose regards to creating an attraction of the product based on the emotions of people towards their own body rather than presenting the contents in a rational perspective that appeals the users. Dove ‘Real Beauty’ ad manifests emotional appeal through enticing the larger consumers who are mainly the women to use the product with the promise of attaining a ‘great look’ as well as making them feel better of their oneself. According to the Huffington Post, Dave indicates that “The ad is intended to illustrate the benefits of using Dove VisibleCare Body Wash, by making skin visibly more beautiful in just one week. All three women are intended to demonstrate the “after” product benefit. We do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience.” therefore, the ad has cultivated women for many years by making them believe that the brand upholds ‘real beauty.’ Also, the ad taps into ‘size and color’ with a promise that the brand will solve insecurities among women.
The Dove ‘Real Beauty’ incorporates different sensory details to attract the audience who are mainly women. The message of the ad is presented in print advertisements and online posters that are distributed across the world. The sensory visuals of the ad contain creative techniques such as ‘transitions from light to dark’ for both women skin tones and gradient floor by use of white towels in highlighting key differences in skin colors. Also, the sensory visuals of Dove ‘Real Beauty’ applies juxtaposing techniques with ‘before’ and ‘after’ visual images presented on the frames to reflect the rough and smooth body textures respectively. The visual images from the ad intended to captivate the perception of real beauty among the consumers as the moisturized skin is used as the gauge to measure ‘real beauty’ in a woman (Murray, 83). The sensory image from the ad presents the anxieties of women in the most dramatic manners through use of mood to directly explain the perceptions of real beauty that tend to be manipulated. Therefore, the visual images portray women as they were and what they can become after using the product. For instance, Annie Leibovitz, the female photographer for the ad presents visual images through photo retouching seeking to portray the aspect of ‘real beauty’ among the women. The sensory visuals also demonstrate how Dove’s products can magically transform a woman from black to white look.
The Dove’s ad caught the attention of many audiences as well as reaching the unintended audience. The intended audience comprises regular buyers of the products who contains women seeking the product to fix their troubled and dry faces. On the other hand, the unintended audience includes the individuals who are not willing to purchase the product but happen to stumble on the product at online platforms and public places. Several aspects lead to criticism on the ad by use of elements that depicts racism. For instance, the ad places black women under ‘before’ image and Caucasian woman ‘after’ under the image. These images reflect the controversies underlying the ad as Dove perceives dark skin color as unattractive and therefore use of the product can be useful in achieving ‘real beauty’ that is presented as light skin. Also, the ad brings out controversies by presenting the black woman as the curviest and Caucasian woman as skinniest thus implying that ‘real beauty’ depends on the slim body of a person. The ad has a great impact on the audience as the women portrayed by the advert tend to be able bodied, white and attractive. This aspect creates a great impact on the women as those who lack these features feels that they are unattractive and thus they cannot manifest the ‘real beauty.’ Also, the ad portrays the women face as subject to sketches creating unnecessary anxieties among the audience (Gabbarluado, n.pag). The ad visual images reveal the stereotypical representations among women by use of various sizes, shapes, and ages that intends to discriminate against women of other unprecedented features. Although the key objective of the ad message is to uplift and create a positive picture among the women, Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ fails to recognize the aspect of inclusivity of different cultures of women. Also, the language used by the ad makes the audience have the feeling that beauty tends to be paramount among women and this aspect may make women have low self-esteem as they pursue to meet the beauty standards of the society.
Slogan: ‘Visibly more beautify skin from the most unexpected of places- your shower’.
After much criticism the Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ ad was revised to incorporate different aspects in the advert. For instance, the ad embraced the aspect of inclusivity by use of different images of women to reflect that real beauty can be presented in a natural appearance. Also, the ad was improved by including the men in the ad visual image to show that real beauty cuts around all gender. By doing so, the ad has eliminated the stereotypes that exist through feminism and masculinity. Also, the ad is known for embracing unique beauty by everyone. In a nutshell, Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ reveals racial and feminism controversies presented in modern ads.
Green, Imogen. “Controversial Advertising: Marketing Ploy Or Lack Of Awareness?”. 2018, https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2018/12/17/controversial-advertising-marketing-ploy-or-lack-awareness. Accessed 14 Mar 2019.
Murray, Dara Persis. “Branding “real” social change in Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.” Feminist Media Studies 13.1 (2013): 83-101.
Gabbarluado. “Beauty Is White And Thin: A Critical Analysis On Dove’S “Real Beauty” Ad”. 2017, https://gabbarluado.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/a-critical-analysis-on-doves-real-beauty-ad/. Accessed 14 Mar 2019.