Sunday, 21 October 2007


Well of course I love this next commercial and the values it stands for, but as I've said in the comments over here and here, and indeed to the client Unilever (the owners of the Dove brand), I don't think it's honest for a multinational to put 'keep-it real-credentials' in the 'Campaign for real beauty' while they sell skin whitening creams to among others, Indian subcontinent and South East Asian countries that are by nature blessed with dark skin.

Just doing the focus groups for these kind of products can be quite tough for those of us who think a bit about the effects on the culture of the societies that we make advertising for. Take Thailand for example, based on qualitative research, some office secretaries (for example) will choose who they take lunch with in groups, based on the whiteness of skin.

The darker skins are considered too 'rural' for those who want to climb the whiter skinned ethnic Chinese communities that effectively run S.E. Asia big business.

The aspiring English classes also used to take a dim view of darker skin in previous centuries because it indicated an agrarian lifestyle working in the fields. So I'm not trying to speed up cultural and media literacy development in these countries (or maybe I am), but I am suggesting to Unilever that specifically on it's skin whitening creams, it puts a disclaimer on ALL those products that Unilever embraces skin of all colours.

Otherwise its a bit hypocritical to be a campaigner for real beauty, when it's fake beauty and discrimination that powers one of the fastest growing skin care categories in many parts of the developing world.

Update: I see that the original video was pulled for copyright reasons but that that a remix is now resurfacing for the same issues of resource exploitation but this time the targets are Nestle.

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