As the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad taught all of us, companies everywhere are desperately trying to stay “hip” in the eyes of millennials. Their ensuing marketing attempts, however, often wind up looking strained and weird.
Dove is the most recent example of a millennial marketing ploy gone awry: today, the company unveiled its limited edition “Real Beauty Bottles.” This campaign involves six body wash bottles of varying sizes and shapes which are meant to signify different female body types — so that customers can buy a body wash bottle that resonates with their personal physique.
As Fast Company reports:
Created by agency Ogilvy London, “Real Beauty Bottles” is a limited-edition run of six different body wash bottles to illustrate the power of body diversity–ranging from curvy to tall, petite to slim.
Clearly, this is a blatant attempt by Dove to capitalize on the popularity of body positivity. However, what about this is “body positive,” exactly? Encouraging women to buy differently-shaped bottles based on their respective body type seem like a kind of body-shaming, actually. This move seems to be dividing body types more than bringing them together.
“Each bottle evokes the shapes, sizes, curves and edges that combine to make every woman their very own limited edition,” Dove said in a statement. “They’re one of a kind–just like you. But sometimes we all need reminding of that. Recent research from the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report revealed that one in two women feels social media puts pressure on them to look a certain way. Thankfully, many women are fighting with us to spread beauty confidence.”
Um, okay, Dove. Except that your promotional video for these “one of a kind” bottles shows them all coming off of a production line. The commercial encourages women to “break the mold” while literally showing off the new molds they just made. Instead of making women feel like unique snowflakes, this whole thing feels like we’re all being categorically sorted into different types of boxes — or bottles, rather.
The silver lining? Twitter couldn’t help but mercilessly roast this tone-deaf attempt at “inclusivity,” and the results were fairly hilarious.
So, here’s a pro tip, Dove: the shapes of body wash bottles aren’t responsible for making women feel insecure about their bodies. That responsibility falls to marketing campaigns. So, perhaps focus you energy on promoting more realistic images of women in your advertising, as opposed to telling them what kind of plastic bottle they look like?