Another Brand Bites the Dust?

So Dove, a venerable brand of bar soap (owned by Lever Brothers, AKA Unilever, which has an enormous stable of household brands) looks to have trod heavily on its metaphorical private parts in falling for the supposed magic of an internet celebrity “influencer”, a woman who bears a notable resemblance to the Venus of Willendorf and is a malicious racist besides. I swear, I wonder if someone has spiked the coffee urns or the water coolers at whoever is the most currently popular advertising agency with hallucinogenic compounds, or if the advert creators and the approving corporate C-suite executives have all just drunk too deeply of the magical diversity madness. There is a place for edgy – and it’s not with mainstream commodities with a long history of appealing to a wide segment of consumers. On recent examination, I deduce that they are not teaching this in marketing classes lately.

It is nice and perhaps forward-thinking of advertisers and producers of consumer goods to ditch impossibly perfect, beautiful models in favor of featuring normal but attractive women or men in advertising, but I just can’t help thinking that it is a huge mistake to feature the grotesque, the homely and the screamingly unattractive models to sell soap, underwear, or whatever – male, female, or wanna-be-something-else. There is ordinary and normal – and then there is ‘auditioning for a place in a traveling circus freak show’. How on earth can this be construed as a good idea when it comes to moving product? The usual excuse for an awful, offensive commercial has always been “Well, it makes it memorable, so no matter! Good or bad, you’ll remember and buy the product!”

I have never entirely been convinced of this line of reasoning; there were plenty of consumer items that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole because an ad by the manufacturer left me cold, and I don’t believe I am unique in this. It’s become clear in the last few months that loyal customers can only be pushed so far by popular national brands embracing their inner freak, ever since the recent debacle over Bud Light and wanna-be-girl Dylan Mulvaney. An inexpensive and best-selling beer formerly beloved by undiscriminating male drinkers everywhere basically became untouchable over a long hot summer. Will Dove soap likewise crash and burn, through being partnered with a so-called influencer so repulsive, and an advertising concept so ick-making as Free the Pits’? Discuss as you feel moved.

(As for soap, my daughter and I make our own homemade olive-oil Castile, from scratch, for our own use.)

26 thoughts on “Another Brand Bites the Dust?”

  1. Look at Braun as well. I recently shot those reprobates a note saying I would never buy their products again. Same with Harry’s.

  2. I don’t purchase Dove, because Ivory floats- and it costs less. The ad campaign has given me another reason to not purchase Dove.
    Pew Research: Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement Has Dropped Considerably From Its Peak in 2020.

    Support versus oppose BLM: 67-31 in June 2020,
    51-46 April 2023 In three years, Support versus oppose BLM has gone in three years from a 36 % margin to 5%.
    Marketing people are supposed to jump on trends, so that consumers identify their product with a trend increasing in popularity. Here marketing went against the trend. Like they say, go Woke and go Broke.

  3. I am an advertising agent. I used to work with a woman who believed that it didn’t matter whether a commercial made a positive or negative impression so long as it was memorable. I always considered that to be ridiculous. If that was true, you could just make spots that were gross for any product. The grosser the better. If they left the viewer vomiting in their living room, they would never forget. They also would never buy your product, but who cares about that?

  4. Be my guest, Dove. Join Gillette, Harry’s, and Braun as my favorite house guests. Years ago when Gillette went Commie I got a safety razor, with a pack of blades by Personna and Feathers. Now I have to live even longer than I planned to enjoy not buying these brands, and saving money, too.

    Thanks for the heads up, suckers. Time to read up on soaps.

  5. I certainly wouldn’t be convinced to buy dove based on her.

    As far as all this polarizing advertising I just finished a wonderful book on Johnny Carson by his longtime friend, lawyer and confidant, Henry Bushkin.

    Carson was noted for never bringing politics onto his show and he told Henry “why would I knowingly offend 50% of the audience?”

    Why would you knowingly alienate much of your customer base?

    Always remember what somebody said about business. “People either buy from you because they want to or they have to”.

    Nobody has to buy dove.

    I think the problem with a lot of these companies is that they have these activists in high marketing places and they are in a bubble

  6. I feel great. I just purchased an alternate soap brand, and instead of buying a Braun electric shaver, I bought a Remington. Works great!

    These clowns don’t want our money.

  7. Venus of Willendorf is just an exaggeratedly female form; way, way hotter than that grossly obese racist creep!

    Can’t boycott them because we never use their stuff anyway.

  8. The reason Democrats allowed Republicans to push for Transnational companies in the 70s was for this very purpose. By allowing them to be huge multi brand and multi national companies, they are insulated from boycotts and have enough financial clout to support the left through expensive and meaningless advertising.

  9. This is a particularly bad idea with products that are roughly interchangeable. In a blind taste test very few consumers could tell the difference between Bud Lite, Coors Lite, Miller Lite etc. Add in urine of a diabetic horse and some, but not all, would say “Meh, that one’s not quite as good”.

    Similarly, a bar of soap. You reach for it in a steamy shower. If it has a brand name or logo on it that washes off directly. Maybe the scent is different between brands but I don’t go about sniffing my armpits and I’d be obliged if you didn’t sniff them either.


  10. It’s difficult for the people who run these companies to be apolitical, because the younger employees expect their colleagues and management to take political stands. This is Jean Twenge’s argument.

  11. If you have more square inches of surface area to wash, you use more soap. So, make a pitch to the overweight crowd. (I’m not sure if I’m being cynical enough.)

  12. *snort* Yeah, more acreage to wash … but seriously, if you have to make three trips to haul *ss, you are too fat.
    As for advertising blunders starting to rebound on national corporations, I wonder if the public is finally unleashing full pushback. I’ve always said that the last line is withholding our dollars and our eyeballs. Disney may be starting to circle the drain, no one outside the industry notices or even cares about the Hollywood writer’s strike, Bud Light is practically untouchable as a brand among working-class red-neck types, men bailed on Gillette in favor of other brands, a lot of conservative types with a liking for exotic cooking bailed on Penzy’s in favor of other brands because the owner was such a di*k, and CNN is also circling the drain ratingswise.
    I don’t know how many more anvils have to fall on the heads of corporate execs and advertising agencies until it comes clear that going woke means eventually selecting yourself out of business share.

  13. (OT to Bill – that was indeed a great biography, actually written by The Bombastic Bushkin himself. Illustrated why Carson ultimate was mysterious to his friends and prob even his wives.)

  14. I’m so old I can remember back when ads made you want to use, or be associated with a product. These days I think the campaigns they come up with are edgy so they can give each other awards for them. They don’t even remotely care about the market.

  15. Carson was noted for never bringing politics onto his show

    I remember Carson for his constant green and overpopulation propaganda.

  16. The executive class all went to the same elite universities. Makes sense that they would keep repeating the same mistakes.

  17. We don’t watch a lot of TV, but when we do we joke that’s only because so can watch the ads and know which products to boycott. One big tell is what ever LeBron James is shilling for; I’m still livid at him for how he kissed CCP behind and his tweet mocking Kyle Rittenhouse who was crying on the stand recounting how he had to kill people in self-defense

    I’ll throw 2 thoughts out there

    I can, sort of, kind of understand why Bud Light did what it did. Bud Light wanted to trend “hipper” and a big chunk of the beer industry is engaged in micro-targeting different segments such as bar promotional material for Pride Month. You saw it all over town. I would imagine that Bud Light VP Heinerscheid saw the Dylan Mulvaney move in the same light given his very large TikTok following. Keep in mind that Mulvaney has a lot of other endorsement deals with some, with Nike modeling women’s wear, far more offensive. So Heinerscheid wanted to be cutting edge and she failed… thanks to us

    Bill’s point about Carson is pretty apt and I’m reminded how offensive light night TV has become when I cannot get away from Colbert while at the gym. TV has tried the excuse that the late night TV market has fragmented and that Johnny Carson isn’t walking through that door (or through that curtain) anymore so you got to grab that smaller segment while you can. Ok so what is Dove’s angle? Or Gillette? This wasn’t Bud Light who got burned micro-targeting or something that just started recently, the Gillette ad of a father helping his daughter shave was 4 years ago.

    I think part of it is stupidity, but s big part is virtue signaling and heck it’s not their money. To build on what Tacitus said beyond a certain point soap is soap and what advertising is is selling an image. The good news is we showed our power and made Bud Light tank and looks like Disney is starting to shake. I don’t buy any of these products so I cannot boycott them but I”ll sit back and watch the show… I don’t have a personal stake until Bushmills, Hostess, and Remington go woke

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