Tuesday, August 05, 2008

More about advertising

I "couldn't help myself." I went back to The Gruen Transfer site (see yesterday's post) and did some more looking.

A promotional image distributed by Ogilvy & Mather.Perhaps you've seen one or more of the Unilever/Dove commercials--"Evolution" and "Onslaught." The Gruen Transfer gives some background and insightful commentary on the two commercials as well as access to full clips. (Scroll about halfway down the page to view "Evolution." "Onslaught" comes just beyond.)

My sense, Unilever/Dove presented some really worthwhile cautionary messages in both ads. "Parents: your children--daughters, especially--are having their views of the world and, most especially and sadly, themselves, twisted . . . by the advertising they see."

Of course, these warnings are all about the very advertising that Unilever/Dove is most involved in. And so the parody backlash they experienced was probably well deserved.

Once more, The Gruen Transfer provides some thoughtful commentary and two such parodies: a direct remake, if you will, of "Onslaught" in which Rye Clifton, a 27-year old "senior strategic planner," replaces all the beauty images in the original ad with actual footage from ads by Unilever products . . . and then alters the final message. Instead of concluding, as Unilever/Dove does, with the message, "Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does," Clifton says, "Talk to your daughter before Unilever does."

Why this latter message? As The Gruen Transfer notes, Unilever/Dove is the world's second largest advertiser--right behind Procter & Gamble. And what does it advertise? Among others, beauty products like Slim-Fast diet drinks, Fair & Lovely skin whitener (huge demand in Asia), Axe deodorant, and, of course, the entire line of Dove beauty products.

A promotional image distributed by Blink Productions.And then, at the bottom of the The Gruen Transfer Ad Critiques page, there is an absolutely hilarious "Evolution" Parody: "Slob Evolution." . . . Should it have been titled "Devolution," instead? --A strange and perfect contrast to Unilever/Dove's original--all the way down to the multi-layered messages in the final screens.

Unilever/Dove concluded its original "Evolution" with "No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted. Take part in the Dove Real Beauty Workshops for Girls. the dove self esteem fund." "Slob Evolution" concludes, "Thank God our perception of real life is distorted. No one wants to look at ugly people. www.CampaignAgainstRealLife.com."
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