Colgate-Palmolive calls out Dove in soap scum fracas

By Todd Wasserman on Thu Jul 29 2010
No one wants to hear that their product is on the scummy side. Hence Colgate-Palmolive's recent challenge to Unilever over a Dove Beauty Bar ad. In advertisements and online videos, the soap is shown to be different from other soaps because it doesn't leave soap scum. Dove's claim in the ad is backed by a putative scientist who explains that the soap doesn't interact with calcium the way other soaps do. Colgate-Palmolive, which makes Irish Spring, disagreed with the assertion and went to the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which decided that Dove's claim was bunk and so is a "mirror demonstration" in the ad which NAD believes is rigged. This isn't the first time that Dove has been accused of disingenuous claims in its marketing. According to some reports, the "Real Beauty" ads for the brand were Photoshopped and a recent casting call set exacting terms for what exactly "Real Beauty" is. On the other hand, does anyone believe that the Irishmen in the old Irish Spring really cavorted in cable-knit sweaters, cutting their soap with pocket knives?

Dove is seeking more 'real women,' but they shouldn't be too real

Posted on Wed Jun 30 2010


What's been real about Dove's "Campaign for Real beauty"? Is it the non-models used on billboards, TV spots and print ads? Or the supposed lack of airbrushing that didn't shave off pounds or years? Was it the breakthrough concept that there's no one definition of beauty—i.e., the size-0 supermodel variety—and that women are gorgeous in all shapes, sizes and colors? Well, that's the theory. Now, I'm rethinking all that goodwill the marketer built up in light of a Craigslist casting call for participants for the next flight of Dove commercials. A few of the requirements: "beautiful arms and legs and face," "flawless skin, no tattoos or scars," "naturally fit, not too curvy, not too athletic." So, as long as you're perfect and blemish-free, and qualify on all the other levels, feel free to step up and get photographed in a towel for the chance to sell soap and lotions. (There's as much as $4,000 in it for you!) Hat tip to Jezebel for pointing out the Craigslist ad. Dove has responded by saying it didn't approve the wording of the ad, telling StyleList: "Unfortunately, this casting notice was not approved by the brand or agency team and did not reflect the spirit of the brand team's vision. We appreciate that this has been brought to our attention, and we are taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future. We believe our images demonstrate that real beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and ages and we remain committed to featuring realistic and attainable images of beauty in all our advertising." Still, just how real is their campaign? Really disappointing.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley



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