Today’s Rant: Dove vs. Axe

I’m sure many of you have seen the various ads on TV for both Dove and Axe.

Dove is attempting to promote self-esteem.

Dove has had some success with their ad campaign which encourages us to dispel the media’s image of women and believe in our own beauty. This ad goes so far as to advise us to talk to our children before the media can impact their lives:

This brings up a good point however we have to keep in mind that they are still selling a product, this is business after all, and they are not just running these ads for our benefit. I have to wonder how much of this ad campaign is attempting to make us feel better about ourselves and how much of it is just clever advertisers who have finally realized that women are more likely to purchase a product whose ads don’t make them feel like shit?

At the opposite end of the spectrum we have Axe.

Axe is using sex to promote their product. Gee, how original. Wearing this spray will help guys get chicks. As expected skinny, young women in skimpy outfits will be unable to resist you if you use Axe. In fact these chicks will even use violence to have their way with you. Have you seen their website? Talk about objectifying women, the icons are images of the curves on a woman’s body. Their logo? “Axe turns nice girls naughty.”

The blatant sexism and degradation of women in this ad campaign makes me nauseous. They lower us to the ranks of animals who are responding only to pheromones. The women they use are portrayed as brainless sex objects with no self respect who are only there to fulfill the desire of men.

Now for the plot twist… both Axe and Dove are owned by the same company, Unilever.

Their corporate statement indicates that they strive for “the highest standards of corporate behaviour towards everyone we work with, the communities we touch, and the environment on which we have an impact.” I’m not sure how they feel they can achieve this with such contradictory ad campaigns, one of which could be very damaging the daughters of my generation.

I think women need to become more aware of the crap we are being fed by the media. Men and women need to get angry! If we don’t want our children to be affected by these ads we need to make a stand! Let these companies know we’re paying attention and we’re not going to buy their products if they continue to treat us as idiots.

Don’t let this kind of corporate bullshit continue.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kelly O on October 5, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    I think it’s true, that every time you see an ad, you have to think “This is trying to appeal to me, to give me what it thinks I want, to make me buy a product.” Good reminder!


  2. Posted by TFO on October 5, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    absolutely. if you know the basic MO behind advertising, and it’s not rocket science or astronomy, then you can arm yourself with the awareness that all advertising is crass and designed to manipulate. Of course the hard part is finding products whose manufacturers you don’t mind, or even better are glad to be supporting.


  3. On other sites, there is a huge ‘debate’ going on pondering if the Unilever company really is hypocritical or if its o.k. because they just know how to target their respective “demographics”, and the good Dove is doing makes up for the bad that AXE does…. To me, you can’t have the best of both. You can’t applaud Dove for trying to make a difference if you chalk AXE’s sexist imagery up to advertising schemes, then Dove’s supposed campaign is simply that too – an advertising ploy to get people to buy their product, which makes Dove almost more deplorable because they are hiding behind this clean image. My take is that this one issue represents all underlying sexism in the world and we CAN’T put up with it!!


  4. I completely agree! You can’t spout social responsibility and sexism with the same mouth!

    It is demographic targeting… they are trying to target women of all ages and convince them that the big corporation understands their plight while at the same time on another tv station they are showing stereotypes of men and women in a 30 second time slot.

    The two faced nature of their campaign is as deplorable as you and, from what I’ve seen, a LARGE number of other people.


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