Dove’s most recent advertising campaign supporting their new line of deodorant is causing a big stink, especially to residents of New Jersey. A billboard ad set to appear across the Garden State this summer has since been revoked, as Dove’s armpit billboard was too offensive for New Jersey.
The personal hygiene company is currently promoting their new line of deodorant, Dove Advanced Care. The deodorant is said to act not only as an antiperspirant, but also as a moisturizer, beautifying underarm skin. Dove has run several advertisements for the new deodorant, using the angle that the armpit should be a positive body part, and should be moisturized and well cared for. To reduce negative connotations surrounding the armpit, Dove launched a commercial in which women celebrate and appreciate their armpits. In the commercial, women wearing white tank tops and baring their underarms read letters to their armpits about the importance of the underarm and need for care. Dove has also produced ads in print media promoting the desirability of the armpit and in turn their product. Dove’s campaign also includes the use of billboards to promote the new line of deodorant. The billboard set to appear in New Jersey this summer, however, has sparked much controversy.
The ad which was to be printed on billboards across New Jersey this July has since been revoked due to much commotion surrounding the billboard’s message. In the ad a woman in a white tank top revealing her underarm sends a message to New Jersey telling them to proudly accept their pejorative title as the “Armpit of America.” This ad was intended to be purely jocular, according the Matthew McCarthy, who is the marketing director for antiperspirants and deodorants for Dove’s parent company Unilever. McCarthy also stated that New Jersey inhabitants would understand that the billboard was meant to be comical, and therefore it wouldn’t come across as an insult. However, many New Jersey citizens when polled on the ad have taken offense to the proposed billboard. Due to the negative reaction by citizens of the Garden State, Dove’s armpit billboard has been deemed too offensive for New Jersey and won’t be printed this summer.
This ad campaign is one of several created by Dove with the aim to promote a positive body image. Launched in 2004 Dove’s Real Beauty campaign has aimed to provide positive and realistic images of natural beauty. For this promotion Dove had “real women” pose in their underwear for a national ad, advocating for a healthy body image. In another campaign Dove produced a short film which followed a model’s beautification process in preparation for a photo shoot. The video also depicted how the images were further distorted before publication, in attempts to inform women of America’s modified image of beauty. One of Dove’s most recent campaigns had teenage girls and their mothers participate in a project in which they took “selfies” that were then displayed in a gallery open to the public. Those who attended the gallery wrote compliments and positive messages on the photos in efforts to boost confidence and self esteem in women of all ages.
While other Dove campaigns have been greeted with much success, their newest advertising pitch has been met by much controversy. Dove’s armpit billboard, which was intended to poke mild fun at the state has been deemed too offensive for New Jersey, and Dove representatives have announced that the ad will not grace the Garden State skyline this summer.
By Allison Longstreet
New York Times