an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Posts Tagged ‘charity’

Dove: PSA or Ad?

Posted by Rosepixie on September 26, 2009

This is a Dove ad that has gotten a lot of attention, both praise and criticism.

I like the idea they were going for here, because they’re right that the beauty industry is incredibly harmful to girls and women and those images and messages are unimaginably damaging.  However, Dove is unquestionably part of the beauty industry.  They sell beauty products and this was an ad.  Ostensibly it’s an ad for a self-esteem program on their website, but they wouldn’t have made it with the name “Dove” all over it the way it is if they weren’t also trying to get viewers to think about their products and see them favorably.  If you go to the website, the main pictures in the middle are all about self-esteem, which is great, but the first link at the top is for their products and there’s a big ad along the side stating that if you enter the UPC from one of their products they will donate $1 to a self-esteem program.

I’m not terribly fond of “buy our stuff and we’ll donate to this charity” promotions.  Dove has buckets of money.  If they were truly serious about donating a meaningful amount of money to these programs, they wouldn’t tie it to people buying their products.  They aren’t in need of customers, they have plenty of them (even I buy their stuff), so it’s not like they need to tie it to sales this way to make the donation possible.  They don’t.  And how many customers do you think realistically go and enter that code?  Again, if they really meant it, they could donate for every sale, not every customer who manages to learn about the program, buy a product and bother to go enter a code on the website.  I just have trouble seeing it as real charity when it’s got so many weird strings like this for no real good reason.

So, I kind of wandered off topic from the ad itself there, but I think it all ties back to the same idea.  Dove is marketing an idea that they don’t really seem to be behind.  They say they’re encouraging “real beauty”, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman over maybe size 12 in their ads and I know I’ve never seen a woman with a visible disability or anything like that.  So their definition of “real” beauty still seems pretty conventional.  And I have trouble taking their dire warnings about the beauty industry seriously (even though they are absolutely right about it) when they are part of that very same industry and filled the ad with the very images they are supposedly against.  The message is great and if this exact same video had been produced as a public service announcement or by an advocacy group I’d be all for it, but as it is, I’m deeply skeptical of it because it’s made by the very industry it’s saying is evil.


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Gucci: Buy a Purse (for Charity)

Posted by Rosepixie on September 15, 2009

This ad was found in a fashion magazine and is for Gucci, specifically their “Tattoo Heart Collection”, which benefited Unicef.

Gucci 1aGucci 1b

Gucci 1cGucci 1d

(click on the images for full size)

The text reads:


Tattoo Heart Collection

Campaign to Benefit Unicef

Make a permanent mark: Help save children’s lives.

When you purchase an item from the white Tattoo Heart Collection Gucci will donate 25% of the sale to support Unicef programs for orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.  Valid November 19, 2008 through January 31, 2009.  For more information and to view the behind the scenes featuring Rihanna visit (url).

So, mostly I think this ad is really weird.  Not any weirder than the other fashion and handbag ads, necessarily, but still weird.  What particularly made this one stand out for me was that it is supposed to be for a collection designed to support a children’s charity and the text suggests that they want you to buy a bag at least partially because it does support such a great charity (the “think of the children” argument, I guess).  Nothing about the look of the ad suggests “children’s charity”, though.  In fact, it was only on the third time I saw this ad that I even noticed the Unicef part!  Mostly it just looks like a weird, arty photo shoot of a model with a comically over-sized purse on a circus performer’s ring for some unknown reason (not that fashion photo spreads ever really make that much sense).  I have no idea what it has to do with Unicef.  To be honest, I’m not sure what it has to do with purses, but at least you can see what they look like, which is one up on many handbag ads.  Basically, I think this ad fails on a few levels, but not much more so than a lot of fashion ads fail, which is kind of sad.

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