Dove's "Real Beauty" ad campaign has received praise for bucking the trend of waif-thin models in favor of curvy, natural, "real women." But Dove faced a PR backlash Tuesday after an ad appeared on the New York City Craigslist searching for "flawless" non-models for the soap maker's next commercial. "Beautiful arms and legs and face... naturally fit, not too curvy or athletic!" the ad read. "Beautiful hair & skin is a must!!!" The ad has since been pulled, and Dove says it never approved the wording. But the question remains: Is Dove's concept of female beauty as "all-inclusive" as it claims? (Watch a Dove "real beauty" commercial)
Shame on you, Dove: "There is something very gross about all of this," says Hortense at Jezebel. Dove thrived by challenging our culture's definition of beauty, but now we see its "'come as you are' campaign" has "an 'if you're flawless, that is' clause attached." This glimpse into the confused minds of the Dove PR machine is both "hilarious and tragic" — and it shows how flawed the "real beauty" campaign itself truly is.
"Craigslist ad hints that Dove wants 'Real Women,' but only if they're flawless"
Dove doesn't deserve the backlash: Of course Dove wants fresh, scrubbed-clean women, says Jim Edwards at BNET. They're advertising soap! "It's difficult to get across a focused message about 'clean'" if the models don't have unblemished skin. And even if Dove's "real women" are a little short on flaws, they're a lot more diverse and interesting than the emaciated teens featured in most ads.
"Yes, your butt will look fat in this ad: Dove seeks 'real' but 'flawless' models"
Let's hope Dove learns its lesson from this blunder: Dove's campaigns may be more well-intentioned than most, says Verena von Pfetten at Styleite, but the company still is focused on the bottom line. If Dove wants to translate its ads into higher profits, it will have to learn from this gaffe and show its customers the truly diverse assortment of "models" they really want to see. For good measure, Dove might "make a concerted effort to feature a scar, or another tattoo."
"Dove calls Craigslist ad an unauthorized 'mistake'"