Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Advertising and Ethics

Tonight was the first episode of the ABC new programme The Gruen Transfer- pitched on it's website as looking at 'advertising, how it works, and how it works on us.' Hosted by comedian Wil Anderson, it's a hit in my world just for that (which would come as no surprise to anyone who lives in our household)

The following two ads from Dove were dicussed in the the ethics section of their show.

I had never seen either of these ads - we don't watch commerical TV. I'm posting these this evening to open a a discourse about them. At the moment I'm too tired to string together enough words to make either a logical or coherent sentence.

Is there such a thing as ethics in beauty advertising?

Firstly evolution ...

And the follow up onslaught

Are we being sold a new beauty myth ... is this just a wolf in sheep's clothing?


Tricksy Pixie said...

I studied this Dove campaign a couple times in women's studies classes that I take. I can see it as having a marketing slant- they are trying to appeal to a demographic to sell products, not just out of sheer good will. However to recognize this as an opportunity to promote their products, they must have some realization that something is wrong in the beauty industry- or at least that enough people THINK there is. I do give Dove big props because what they're doing takes a certain degree of guts (they're basically bashing the industry they are still a part of) and for the most part they appear to be honoring their claims. I have seen "normal" women in Dove ads, and I know I have appreciated it. It's refreshing to see women in ads who are overweight, who have freckles, who have asymmetrically aligned facial features. The other women in my classes appreciated it as well. The key conclusion I guess is that we didn't all rush out to buy Dove products- we had a thoughtful discussion about how beauty was portrayed in our society instead, which is far more valuable. So even though it IS a marketing campaign with money as at least one of the motivations- it is also creating some social change (or at least dialogue) and for that reason I see it as pretty positive.

Rebecca said...

Wow, I appreciate the previous comment. I have only seen these ads because of email forwards/blogs, etc. and I haven't studied them. But what she said is what I would have said had I thought about it.