The CBS Evening News without Dan Rather last night had this report
about a marketing campaign by Dove skin cream
. Instead of using waifishly thin models to sell their beuaty products, Dove is "taking a chance" by having "real" woman sell these products under the banner of "Real Women Have Curves."
Now, I'd heard about this campaign a few weeks ago. I think it was a featured link on MSN on one day. (I hate to say it, but the little ad of women in their white cotton skivvies with the text shouting that real women have curves on MSN proved to be too much NOT to click. I mean, it's not like this was a link from any other web site where I didn't know where it might take me. Bill Gates would never steer me toward porn...)
There was a lot in this report that struck me as interesting.
But what hasn't changed is this: it's still a sales-pitch. The question Dove is raising is: do real women want to buy their beauty products from regular women or from size two supermodels?
Frances Grill, founder of the Click Model Agency, doesn't think the supermodels have anything to worry about.
Grill says that when she picks up a magazine, she's "looking for the fantasy and the illusion" and that people are drawn in by glamour.
"Regular people, when they look in a mirror, they don't see this," says Axelrod while looking at pictures of models with Grill.
"But they can fantasize it," Grills says.
Dove is banking on her being wrong.
"I think these ads aren't about fantasy. It's about celebrating reality," Gina [Crisanti (one of the models in the campaign)] said.
Dove is also banking that the man on the street is more like Randy Carnegie.
"Now I can walk and whoa -- there goes somebody that looks like my wife!" said Carnegie.
Looking at Gina on the billboard, Carnegie says, "She looks too skinny to be in there."
Too skinny? Try this: A model agency Gina just contacted told her, sorry -- they don't work with plus sizes!
First of all--plus size?!? Good heavens, it's no wonder there are so many young women these days out there with eating disorders.
Of course, what I think this comes down to is the definition of what is beautiful and what isn't. Or to put in the terms the young 'uns are using these days--are you hot or not?
A couple of weeks ago, I was in the bookstore and perusing the plethora of magazine titles availalbe to me. I was debating between which fantasy football guide I needed to start assembling my team this season (I won the league I was in with some buddies from church and I've got a big ol' target on my back, so I've gotta stay one step ahead and not tank in my post-Super Bowl year). Anyway, while browsing, I couldn't help but notice that Hooters (you know the restuarants) had their own magazine
. On one level, I suppose it was only a matter of time, really. The magazine was placed with other magazines of "men's interest" such as Maxim, FHM, Stuff
(In a way, it reminded of the comedy routine about the differences between men and women even in magazines. I think it's by Jeff Foxwerthy. Basically, it says how women's magazines talk about how to find a good man, how to make him into a good man, etc while men's magazines all feature one thing--naked or semi-naked women.)
Anyway, I will admit..I gave into the dark side a bit. I've been to Hooters a couple of times and so I have to admit I was curious about the magazine. I picked it up, flipped through and found a lot of photos of women in the Hooters outfits and bathing suits, all trying to look sexy and hot.
But were they succeeding. I think it was a day or two later I first saw the ad for the Dove campaign and clicked on it. And as I thougth about it, I have to admit that women in the Dove campaign were a bit "hotter" to me.
A lot of it boils down to the reason I like to go to the Y as opposed to another gym I visited in Smryna. See this gym had lots of people in Spandex all showing off how muscled, toned, ripped and all around in shape they are. Now I like to think I'm in good physical shape, but ripped toned and buff I am not. I like the Y as there is a good cross-representation of real people...not just a bunch of people strutting about in spandex. I mean, I know for a fact that I don't have a perfect body....I like to joke I've got six-pack abs, but they're just inside a cooler.
And the thing is, when I was looking at the Hooters Magazine
, I kept thinking--yeah, that's OK, but they're trying too hard to convince me they're "hot." Instead, I was more intrigued by the Dove women because they had that "they don't know they're beautiful" quality to them. As in--they take pride in their appearance but aren't stuck on themselves. I mean, I know I'm not gonna win any high ratings on Am I Hot Or Not
, but I do take pride in how I look. And I don't wear the polka-dotted shirt with the plaid pants (well, at least not since that once time in college on laundry day..but I digress). I know we've all been told that true beauty comes from within and the older I get the more I find this to be true.
I'd rather have a sparkle in her eyes, a genuine smile and something indefinable rather than the Hooters fantasy girl who is trying so hard to convince myself and herself of how hot she is.
As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I realize I'm not saying anything earth-shattering or covering any new ground here. But hey, not every posting can be gold, right?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/18/2005 02:57:00 PM