Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dove Takes Another (Small) Step

Dove has received much positive buzz for the Campaign for Real Beauty that began with a Super Bowl ad in 2004 and has continued in many forms since. Ad Age(graphic on left; subscription required) recently suggested that sales of the brand have slowed in spite of the (mostly) postitive vibes about the campaign, but Dove is continuing to innovate within the framework of the Campaign for Real Beauty and the Dove Self Esteem Fund that is part of it. The positive message of this campaign is attractive to many of us.

I get excited when I see something new, so when I saw a Dove video described as “customizable” with an alt tag that said it could be personalized, I thought it was a great step forward. If you play the video, you’ll find it in the charming/warm/fuzzy genre that is typical of the Dove ads. The boy shouts for Amy, who he thinks is beautiful. Can you change the name in the video? No, you can’t. Can you add a personalized message? Sort of. You can’t add it to the video, but you you are encouraged to add a personalized message telling someone how beautiful she is. (I was sending it to myself, so I didn’t go that far; see below).

When I looked at YouTube the video had been viewed 5,147 times: I couldn’t tell how many times it had been shared. There were many comments, most of them positive, so the Real Beauty campaign continues to resonate, even though the advertising may have faltered. But I don't find anything that I consider really "customizable." I do find something that could go viral, and that's pretty good for now.

Another link that you can find either funny or scary, depending on how comfortable you are with the consumer-generated content. “Scary Dave” posted his personal video tribute to Dove as part of a contest several months ago. He can’t spell, he can’t sing, and he has no taste whatsoever. You may get all you want from this blog post. If you have a strong stomach you can watch the video. Either way, think about whether Dove should have reacted. I don’t think they did—or should have. It’s crude and tasteless; ignore it and it will go away sooner, except when bloggers like me choose to resurect it.

It’s not a nice, tidy world for marketers and I doubt that it’s going to get any neater. Our customers have found their voice and we have to listen to them—even when it pains us!
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