‘Many decades ago, a beauty brand was purportedly created with extra moisturizing cream for men who toiled away in physical labor; the bar was meant to clean away tough, sticky grease. It wasn’t a hit apparently and someone, a very smart someone by the likes of it, decided to re position it as the non-soap; a beauty bar for women. So it is especially ironic that a soap that was never meant for women became the standard bearer for ‘real beauty’, the anti-objectification brand that celebrated women in all their diversity and imperfections.’
— Dawn News / Aurora
Dove’s Evolution campaign may not seem out of place or context now but 14 years ago, the transformation of an ordinary girl into beauty diva with lighting and a whole lot of Photoshop made us all sit up and daydream about the ideal girl from the telly.
Advertisers working in the personal care category realized it was time to rethink the approach to the category — it was a new marketing strategy in the making. At the time, it also invited a fair share of ridicule from those who dismissed it as a one-off publicity stunt (truthfully so).
The brand persisted and the well thought out gamble has paid off, despite criticism faced from several pressure groups.
Other brands followed up fast as MAC cosmetics have long championed gender diversity and are dedicated to funding HIV/AIDS prevention programs through their communication and marketing.
Maybelline ditched the catchphrase ‘Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe It’s Maybelline’ to an apparently more appropriate one; ‘Make It Happen’.
The beauty business, by its very nature, reeks of superficiality and false confidence for most people. A red lipstick has become a need more than a want — contrary to the typical hierarchical systems where in no sane way, is a lipstick an armor you can’t survive without. So, beyond products that are safe, not tested on animals and aesthetics that appeal to us, brands need to give us a deeper reason to swear our allegiance — give us a good enough reason to justify that purchase.
It’s great to see brands stretching the limits and going beyond the obvious. However, apart from Fair & Lovely and Veet, I was hard-pressed to think of any other personal care brand that was doing the same, with the exception of Pond’s Miracle Women perhaps. It is refreshing to see women celebrate other women.
Creams like Fair and Lovely initially campaigned with slogans that promoted fairer skin color but is slowly moving towards the deeper scientific technicalities of keeping your skin hydrated.
Since mass media has such an influence over people, it always used to worry me that Pakistan would remain backwards because our viewers were constantly being fed ideas of this idealistic woman who literally ‘woke up like this’ by which I mean with: perfectly curled hair, gorgeous makeup, no drool, and apparently not bad breath either because of her confidence when she immediately started talking to her equally proper roommates.
While it’s amazing we are moving away from these unrealistic beauty standards, we still have a long way to go. The photoshopped girl has been in our minds for longer than the girl who forgives herself for the little imperfections and is comfortable in her own skin.