Letter to Unilever about Being a Hypocrite – Dove vs. Axe Marketing Campaigns
Unilever Head Office, Paul Polman CEO
Walton Court, Station Avenue,Suite 1500, 160 Bloor Street East, Toronto M4W 3R2
Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 1UP http://www.unilever.com/resource/contact-form.aspx
Unilever Canada, Christopher Luxon, President and CEO
Suite 1500, 160 Bloor Street East, Toronto M4W 3R2
Spcl-ConsumerCentre.CA-LP-Tor@unilever.com Christopher.email@example.com 416-963-4781 Fax 416-963-5197
Dear Mr Polman and Mr Blanchard,
As a young woman, I am saddened by your decision to put your profits over the mental health of girls and women – you’ve demonstrated this clearly in your blatant advertising hypocrisy.
Ø I thought that Dove was a terrific organization trying to bring a lot of attention to the harmful stereotypes shoved in everybody’s faces – TV commercials, radio commercials, or billboards, you name it!
Ø I thought that the Dove advertisements were wonderful and a refreshing change to see plastered all over my Toronto Transit System.
Ø I thought that Dove actually had a conscience and had a shred of respect for its female customers.
I thought wrong.
Ø Unilever is throwing money to the self-esteem fund for young women and girls in order to promote a healthy and self-loving body image in today’s media – saturated with sexist stereotypes
Ø And simultaneously creating ads of women in degrading roles in which women are sex objects – to be consumed by your male viewer just like the product you’re trying to bribe him with – in this case, Axe products.
So you first contribute to women feeling badly about their bodies and sexuality, and THEN you promote the Dove Self-Esteem Fund to help reverse the problems that you helped produce in us to begin with.
Have some responsibility!
Ø Do you really want to alienate half of your market plus the many males who also resent your tired, worn-out images?
Ø We are sick and tired of seeing fake-breasted, under-nourished, fake hair-coloured women being shoved in our faces and sold to us as desirable. What does any of this have to do with Axe body spray, anyway?
Ø We don’t want to see sexist and exploitative ads anymore. Where have you been?
Your shameful tactics to make a profit are not lost on your consumers – and I’m well aware that I’m not the only person who’s fed up.
Response from Christopher Luxon:
Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with us. I’m sure you can appreciate that as individual brands, and as a company, Unilever takes its marketing responsibilities very seriously.
We have a wide portfolio of everyday consumer brands across both foods and home and personal care – offering products to consumers that address different needs. Each of our brands talks to its target consumers in a way that is relevant and that communicates its own unique proposition.
What unites all the products in the Unilever portfolio is our Vitality mission, which seeks to promote products that help our consumers look good, feel good, and get more out of life.
Unilever is a large, global company with many brands in its portfolio. Each brand’s efforts are tailored to reflect the unique interests and needs of its audience. The Dove brand is dedicated to making more women feel beautiful everyday by widening today’s stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women to take great care of themselves. As part of this commitment, the brand created the Dove Self Esteem Fund to educate and inspire girls on a wider definition of beauty. The brand is dedicated to reach 5 million girls by 2010 with self esteem programming (in addition to the million girls they have reached thus far).
The Axe campaign is a spoff, of the “mating game” and men’s desire to get noticed by women and not meant to be taken literally. This campaign is targeting guys 18-24. Axe regularly tests its campaign with men and women who have shared they see these ads as clever and funny.
Consumer comments are very important and evaluated on a regular basis. Thanks again for sharing your views with us.