In 2006 the food, beverage, cleaning agent and personal care product manufacturer Unilever launched a campaign designed to help build and promote the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. As part of the ‘Dove Campaign for Real Beauty’ several commercials were made and released, all of which managed to press certain boundaries in our mainstream understanding of beauty. One of the commercials in particular, entitled ‘Evolution,’ went particularly viral worldwide as it featured an “ordinary” looking woman undergoing a regular transformation that numerous models go through as a part of their regular work -both in production and post-production.
You’ve more than likely seen the commercial already by this point, but in the case that you haven’t you can view it via this LINK.
In this article however, I’d like to focus on the 3rd piece released as a part of this campaign which also went relatively viral, however not to the same degree as the one pictured above. This piece is entitled ‘Onslaught.’
The commercial itself is of course focused on the importance of speaking with our children before the mainstream beauty industry speaks to and shapes them for us. It does a great job of piecing together so many of the advertisements selling expectations and the pills, lifestyles and procedures available to help us all attain them.
Even though since its release Dove & Unilever have undergone a fair amount of scrutiny for various reasons -including the use of palm oil in their products -let’s not focus on who delivered the message and rather the message itself. Whether we support the organization behind it or not, the message itself is definitely a great reminder for all parents in regards to the importance of regularly communicating with children. It’s impossible for us to completely prevent our children from being exposed to the advertising world, but it is possible for us to help shape how they perceive it and let it affect them.
Even though both the commercial and a great majority of beauty-based advertising is geared towards women, I feel that communication with boys is equally as important as it is with girls. As a male myself, its easy to let mainstream advertisements not only influence how I feel I should appear, but also how I judge and expect another to appear.
Campaigns such as this serve as a great reminder for us to look internally at what shapes so many of our opinions. This internal reflection can be helpful in us choosing to get ourselves back to a point where we once again love and appreciate everyone for who they naturally are – a point that I personally consider our natural state.
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