Dove is a brand that found its niche years ago around the platform of 'female empowerment'. And like most of these CPG soaps they struggle for awareness in a very crowded shelf. But Dove has been using this strategy for some time now and very successfully.
And it's because of this ongoing success this 'controversial/racist/finger pointing' ad was bound to happen sooner or later.
To be absolutely honest as a female Creative Director who has worked on CPG I know how difficult
it is to get any good yet alone great creative done for these brands. And the due diligence on a brand
like Dove with this type of position in the marketplace I am sure is very very stringent. Both the client and the agency would be checking this for PC friendliness all around.
However, here's the irony: I can see what the creative team was trying to show. It was a creative trick used as a 'cut' to go from one woman to the next, from one skin color to the next....it has nothing to do with being racist. It isn't meant to be a racial comment about one being 'dirtier' than another or
one washing away one's color or anything like that at all. And everyone on the teams of this brand
at Unilever and the agency I am sure saw this as the visual trick it was meant to be. And here's the rub:
Everyone saw it except the consumer.
And not just any consumer.
These are the PC police, the pc brown shirts who have no imagination other than that fostered by their own diligence about one thing only: in this instance it's racism....
they live, eat, sleep, racism.....and they see it in everything, everywhere and it has blinded them and made them impervious to any alternate perception.
They are dangerous. Dangerous to brands. Dangerous especially to creatives. Dangerous to people who have no hidden agendas. Dangerous to the world actually mending itself around these issues.
And it isn't just racism. There's the gender neutral group that attacked GAP Kids which I wrote about.
There's PC police for every nuance, every casting decision, every word, every creative execution.
And honestly, I do believe most people in the advertising world today in all fairness are really atuned to the sensitivities that exist around all these myriad issues. And trying to navigate the creative in this atmosphere where people are so eager to be myopic and fanatic it is impossible to second guess them.
The PC police are how a few dictate and hold hostage the many. The PC police prevent any real understanding or dialogue because they are difficult, dangerous and hold extreme views and if you don't agree or bend to them, it is you who are shamed or shunned or boycotted.
This has to stop. It is divisive. And our tolerance, our inclusiveness, our fear and our shame for our ancestral past is their feast.
We have nothing to be ashamed of here. There is nothing in this ad that is remotely racist.
But they are the harpies that we invited in and encouraged and now those who honestly have no interest in any real dialogue, in any real understanding or mending of points of view are hell bent on taking us down.
They lay in wait.
You can choose to be ruled and dictated by these things or not. These PC police will never back down.
What as brands, as creatives, as people are we to do around this out of control repression?
We need an answer in the ad community. Because when an angry mob of a few like this take over
it becomes a brand lynching.