Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dove: the brand "for people who are giving up"

Did you read to the very end of the Ad Age article? Because the feel-good praise for the Campaign for Real Beauty eventually fades and you learn this: "Dove's success all along was probably more about product news than newsworthy advertising, said Ralph Blessing, a former Unilever marketer and now a consultant with Arbor Strategy Group, Chicago. And the product innovation may have faltered with Pro-Age....'Dove Pro-Age is a wonderful concept, a high concept. But people don't buy concepts. They buy products,' said Suzanne Grayson, a longtime beauty-industry consultant. She said the concept does appeal to many women, but embracing unvarnished aging when anti-aging products dominate skin care is risky. 'What they're saying is that [the brand] is for people who are giving up,' Ms. Grayson said."

Wow, Ms. Grayson. Way to harsh everyone's self-image mellow with the truth. Quick! Someone mention Cannes again!


Make the logo bigger said...

Sooooo, the campaign shouldn’t have won all those awards if it was more about the product then? Ralph, help me out here.

James-H said...

Interesting take. But in the end, suzanne, people buy concepts every fucking day. (Except my clients). Concepts like security, longevity, vitality, and yes, beauty. In fact, there's most definitely good research out there that suggests people will spend MORE for concepts than mere products.

The beauty industry is just spitting on the fat people. Like it always has.

Irene Done said...

Ralph doesn't seem to love the campaign, does he? (If that's the case, I may love him.) But I think his point may be that while everyone is busy congratulating themselves on the Campaign for Real Beauty, product innovation/development really can't be ignored in this category right now.

And I agree that Ms Grayson only gets it half right. People buy into concepts everyday. But she's right in that Dove has, in the anti-aging category, painted themselves into a corner.

I may be hyper sensitive to all this because I'm 1) a girl and 2) old but look at the other mass brands here. Diane Keaton is the face of L'Oreal's anti-aging line. She's fun! Olay's campaign is cold and odd and has nonsensicial comparisons to plastic surgery but even I was impressed by the fact it was touted in Consumer Reports and on Good Morning America as being better than dept. store brands. Compared to this, Dove's Real Beauty concept seems so not-fun and their innovation is -- I don't know what their innovation is.

(I wildly oversimplified all of the above and didn't bother to look any of it up. I feel like such a spontaneous mad-cap!)