We recently discussed Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty and the viral videos generated as part of that campaign (i.e. the Evolution and Onslaught videos). What we haven't discussed yet is an interesting marketing dilemma facing Unilever, the multinational corporation which owns the Dove brand along with about 400 other brands, including personal care brands Axe, Sunsilk, and Lux. Obviously all of these product lines have different brand personalities. So what do you do when two of them clash? That's exactly the dilemma we are talking about here. While Dove's viral videos have been trying to redefine our perception of real beauty, Axe's marketing strategy has been reinforcing the exact stereotype of the woman as sex object that the Dove videos have been trying to dispel. So what's Unilever to do?
Can they reap the benefits of Dove's success in rebranding itself as a socially responsible brand while at the same time supporting Axe's message of female sex appeal? Should Unilever allow one of its own brands to undermine Dove's mission? Can the Dove message come across as authentic when other Unilever brands blatantly reject it? Is this hypocritical?
Here are a two YouTube videos that are calling Unilever on its apparent hypocrisy:
Also see this post from AdPulp.