Hey “Girls”! Unilever’s “Go Fresh” spam

The Hoydens got spammed by Unilever’s minions today.

You remember Unilever: the company doing the pornulated “Bom Chicka Wow Wow” Axe and Lynx ads; Unilever, the company whose marketing officer Simon Clift whined that women just can’t take a joke; Unilever, the company pushing racist, classist advertisements for skin whitening products throughout Asia; Unilever, the company hijacking feminist language to profit on a very limited idea of plucked, smooth, cellulite-free female “beauty”; Unilever, the company that only a few weeks ago caved and decided to start trying to look like it’s cleaning up its orangutan-killing act under major pressure from Greenpeace.

“Stuart” from Sydney PR agency Zing dropped us a feisty little note asking us to do some PR for Dove’s new “Go Fresh” range. Apparently he just “came across” our website – how random! – and thought the Hoydens and Hoydenizens would be interested in a range of cosmetic products. Why?

It’s all about girls being vivacious and having fun!

Stuart, who goes by just “Stuart”, like “Madonna”, continues:

The ‘Go Fresh’ range features a selection of fresh scented body washes, beauty bars, deodorants and hair care products to help girls wake up and feel fresh all day.

So at this stage I’m sitting here thinking, “Do we really need yet more products aimed at preteens and telling them how stinky and gross their natural bodies are?” Rhetorical question, I know. I forfeit one cherry. If you recruit consumers early, you’re got an extra decade or so of them using your products. If you can get in before the other marketeers grab ’em, all the better.

Continued:

It’s all about having fun and being carefree, by being fresh! I’d love to hear what you think about the range, so if you’re interested in reviewing the products on your blog send me over your address details and I’ll get some to you in no time.

Yeah, not so much. I’m loving my homemade real soap and hair butter, and Dove deodorant gives me blisters.

Aaanyhow:

What’s more, to launch ‘Go Fresh’ Dove has created the ‘Fresh list’ – a photo compilation website that gives participants the chance to win $20,000!

All you or your readers have to do to enter the competition is upload a photo that depicts you doing something that refreshes your spirit. Some great examples we’re already seen include sipping a cocktail with friends, relaxing in a steamy bubble bath or getting a facial.

dovecocktails

Double take. Marketing products to girls with images of cocktail parties? The Advertising Standards bureau probably won’t be thrilled about that. What’s going on here?

I wandered off to the ad section on their website:

dovevidcaps

dovearmpit

Yes, it took me that long. Where’s my cynicism bone this week?

The “girls” they are marketing to are women in their twenties and thirties. Plucked, shaved, smooth, coiffed, thin, able-bodied, relentlessly white women with leisure time and money to burn. Women who think that their lumbar area is disgustingly filthy. (What has she been rolling in to need that much detergent?)

Unilever and Dove don’t even consider this adult market to be grown-up humans; they’re talking to women as if they are children. Children in need of a good scrubbing and deodorising.

“We’d love to hear what you and your readers think about ‘Go Fresh’!”

No Stuart from Zing. You really wouldn’t.



Categories: gender & feminism

Tags: , , , ,

26 replies

  1. Here’s the link to make a complaint about the cocktails, if you care to try. I don’t like your chances: as I understand it the laws on responsible advertising of alcohol only apply if alcohol is the product being sold, or if a company is distributing it directly as a promotion.

  2. And don’t forget that once you enter a photo in the competition, Unilever can use it forever, for any purpose they feel like at all, without asking you or paying you a cent.

  3. Here’s the link to make a complaint about the cocktails

    Darnit, was I that obscure?

  4. I didn’t think so, Lauredhel!

  5. No, you weren’t being obscure. The Devil Drink didn’t read your post.
    I wonder what Stuart googled to find you?

  6. I did read the post, I thought that amongst the many other objections you have to the ad campaign—about which I have no comment, being an industry-specific Devil—I thought you’d be interested in the ASB’s link.
    The responsible/irresponsible marketing of drinks to young women is a topic that interests me, for obvious reasons.

  7. I’m a big fan of Dove, for some reason my post on them kindly pointing out that I have ugly underarms is one of the main search hits for my blog. Apparently other women are concerned about ugly underarms – or men/women are looking for people with them…
    Sorry, men/girls.

  8. Fuck Dove and fuck their “Real Beauty” campaign. The day one of their billboards features a “big” woman who hasn’t had the life photoshop’d out of her is the day I’ll take their bullshit seriously.
    Honestly … “girls”? “Being carefree by being fresh”? Did Stuart even glance over a few backposts before spamming you? I’m sure there’s some kind of “all publicity is good publicity” argument to be made, but I’m not sure it works for any post using the phrase “orangutan-killing”.

  9. Stuart, you are a dill matey.

  10. I’ll tell “Stuart” what I think

    ”It’s all about having fun and being carefree, by being fresh!”

    WHAT A PILE OF BS!!!
    Do you think we are mentally dead? That you can concoct any random sample of already used words like “fun, carefree, fresh” and sell it to us as something that remotely resembles an idea?
    These people really, REALLY don’t want women (or anyone else) to THINK.

  11. Yeah, I got it too. Stuart is obviously pretty shit at his job.

  12. Fuck Dove and fuck their “Real Beauty” campaign. The day one of their billboards features a “big” woman who hasn’t had the life photoshop’d out of her is the day I’ll take their bullshit seriously.

    I don’t mind the ‘Real Beauty’ stuff as at least the women look considerably more representatives than the normal waifs (not properly representative – perish the thought, ads are supposed to be aspirational – but more representative at least).
    One question of logic that probably shouldn’t be uttered in the same sentence as advertising, how are women supposed to be carefree if they’re worried about whether they are ‘fresh’ enough?

  13. Zoe:

    Yeah, I got it too. Stuart is obviously pretty shit at his job.

    You’d think a quick search of the target site for mentions of the parent company would be fairly basic background work for a ”social media” company. Cop this enormous pile o’ poo from Zing:

    Deliverables
    Social Media Optimisation (SMO) is based around online intelligence, interpreting this and strategically creating context around online conversations,
    The core deliverables can be defined as the following:
    – Initial report on number of conversations around brand or product
    – List of relevant key Bloggers
    – Posting and cross linking on relevant sites and networks
    – Definition of objectives and KPI’s to be reached over a defined time period
    – Strategy document outlining details for traffic generation and optimisation
    – Link management for target site (or SMR if bundled)
    – Structural recommendations (social bookmaking on existing sites, etc.)
    – Content recommendations (mash ups, Vlogs, on existing websites)
    – On-going reporting of progress or traffic up-take

    Maybe they’re just hoping for a follow-up sale for their “Reputation Rescue” package.

    “How do you combat negative press on a network of a 100 million Blogs, let alone the rest of the net? “

    You tell us, Zing PR. How do you? Hey Stuart, are you listening?

  14. I don’t mind the ‘Real Beauty’ stuff

    There is nothing feminist about cellulite cream and the compulsory fetishisation of “smooth” armpits. Nothing.

  15. Epic fail, Dove.
    Some great examples we’re already seen include sipping a cocktail with friends, relaxing in a steamy bubble bath or getting a facial.
    Right, like there aren’t a whole crapton of class/economic issues there, too.
    annahams last blog post..Mondo Video Friday: Lulz Edition

  16. There is nothing feminist about cellulite cream and the compulsory fetishisation of “smooth” armpits. Nothing.

    I meant the ads, I don’t actually use that rubbish (had an allergic reaction to the deo too).

  17. We’d love to hear what you and your readers think about ‘Go Fresh’!”
    No Stuart from Zing. You really wouldn’t.

    Oh go on! I’d love to read your response. Maybe just a link? I certainly won’t be trying a product that has given other people blisters.

  18. Hey girls!! You’re just so, like, totally fun! 😉
    Thanks for a good laugh.

  19. DEM: Sure, the women in the Real Beauty ads are “more” representative. In a way, I find that worse. At least when my fantastically internalized body-hatred gets triggered by a waif-thin model, I can say, “But of course I don’t look like that.” The “Real Beauty” women on the other hand present the nigh-impossible challenge of being “bigger” or [awfully] “real” women … without cellulite, without body hair, wit flawless all-over complexions, either perfectly tanned or pale-sans-freckles.
    Their “aspirational” nature is nothing to praise or even bloody tolerate, for that matter; it’s a nice, “affirming” way of saying “we will make you buy our product by making you feel imperfect and flawed”.

  20. Their “aspirational” nature is nothing to praise or even bloody tolerate, for that matter; it’s a nice, “affirming” way of saying “we will make you buy our product by making you feel imperfect and flawed”.

    Yeees, that’s how ANY type of advertising works. If you’re not flawed in your appearance you’re flawed in your freshness, attractiveness to the opposite sex, man/womanliness, professional skills, personal skills, taste, class, education … need I go on? I doubt there’s much we can do that will see it abolished entirely.

  21. I doubt there’s much we can do that will see it abolished entirely.

    That seems overly defeatist. It’s always going to be a pushme-pullyou effort to combat pernicious advertising (as soon as education makes one technique of instilling a sense of imperfection ineffective, the industry will evolve a new technique) but that’s no reason to stop pushing against it at all.

  22. “Yeees, that’s how ANY type of advertising works. If you’re not flawed in your appearance you’re flawed in your freshness, attractiveness to the opposite sex, man/womanliness, professional skills, personal skills, taste, class, education … need I go on?”
    No, actually, not all advertising works like that. Some advertising works on the basis that something tastes really good – witness the Picnic ads with the tagline “Deliciously ugly”, or that the product is better than other similar products – the “Is the bread Helgas?” campaign (or indeed some of the Brand Power ads, like the ones for Handy Ultra paper towels, or indeed the “This is handy” ads for Handy Ultra).
    And some advertising is based on fear – if you don’t buy this, your family will die. See in particular car ads for nasty four wheel drives that involve people who don’t drive nasty four wheel drives being hit by asteroids, or insurance ads of any type.
    While I agree completely that most advertising is based on making people feel inferior, some is based on making people scared, and some is based on making people hungry (which in my experience only works in colour – I used to have a black and white telly, salvaged from a hard rubbish collection, in my bedroom at my parentals’ place, and the ads featuring burgers did not make me hungry, whereas burger ads in colour do). And some is simply based on a product being superior.

  23. I’m gonna give you one word here, the word that makes me want to laugh and die at the same time:
    CAREREE
    So they are promising a care-free life by… adding more “cares” to our lives?…
    zuh?

  24. Ladies, my box of Dove has arrived and Stuart is eager to hear my review.

    heh

  25. Ladies, my box of Dove has arrived and Stuart is eager to hear my review.

    I’ve been watching your blog for this!

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