Why Dove's Real Beauty ad is better than fairness cream commercials

Yesterday we wrote a piece on whether's Dove's Real Beauty ad series was emphasising that beauty was only skin deep. One of our commenters, DD, wrote a strong, smart comment to that article, which we have now published as a separate post.

hidden April 19, 2013 12:38:27 IST
Why Dove's Real Beauty ad is better than fairness cream commercials

Editor's Note: Yesterday we wrote a piece on whether's Dove's Real Beauty ad series was emphasising that beauty was only skin deep. One of our commenters, DD, wrote a strong, smart comment to that article, which we have now published as a separate post. He points out that the Dove ad is still better than the regular fairness cream advertisements that we see in India which are restrictive in their representation of woman. 

As is Firstpost policy, we have edited for language, and grammar.

Ha Ha! I had a really good laugh at the spoof! Man some people really have the time and the creativity for such things.

OK I have a lot of things to say. Firstly let me start by saying that I am male, overweight , unattractive and I have learnt after a long process to be unashamed about it. Second I don't use Dove. But the dove ad does point to one very common behaviour: people's assumptions about how they seem to others.

Second: I always take social responsibility adds with a pinch of salt. It doesn't matter if 1 percent  of my toothpaste cost goes to building a school in rural India; they are a commercial organisation , not a charity. If they want to do charity let them do it from their profits, and quietly. If they are advertising, it is to boost their sales, not to encourage direct contributions.

True as you have pointed out: Dove is ultimately about selling beauty care products. And the women in the ad may not be real women(models aren't necessarily pretty-pretty, you have regular and ugly models too). But let me still go out and defend Dove. Why? Because even though they use models, they don't use plastic-doll-pretty models. They use models who will look a lot more like the women in my office.

Why Doves Real Beauty ad is better than fairness cream commercials

Screengrab of Dove ads.

Second Dove does not endorse or promote the freaking Indian concept of gori-chitti-beauty. Its models aren't all snow-white . Their Indian ads also feature the non-Indo-Aryan women. One of their most prominent ads had a Laddakhi woman. Now tell me which other beauty product company who featured a woman who wasn't the North-Indian-snow-white fair steroetype. The only other beauty products that do feature Dravidian women do so to promote special fairness creams. Why ? Because the "regular" fairness creams cannot make their dark skins fair. "Tumhari twacha alag hai"... and so they have made a special cream which will overturn millenia of genetic programming in 14 days.

Contrast Dove's ads with this ad for a face-wash that not only washed your pimples away but also made you fairer (was it Clean and Clear? Don't remember). The spot had two dozen odd girls(late teen to early twenties) showing us how beautiful and desirable the product had made them. To buttress the claim and to show that the girls were genuine and not models, their full names and ages were also flashed on the screen as the danced and sang to the jingle. The intent: to prove that their product was validated by a pan-Indian sampling of women  What was amazing was that all the names were typical Indo-Aryan, representing  those from Punjab to Maharashtra, Gujarat to Bengal central heartland. For some reason the northern-Gangetic plain surnames weighed more heavily. You had a Sharma , a Rathod, a Jain, a Sen(maybe a Pal too? I dont remember . But what was most amazing was that none of the "real women" in the ad was outsize of North India. No Swamys, no Shettys, no Kuttys, no Naidus, no Selvams. Forget that there were many parts of Aryan India that went unrepresented. I don't recall any Oriya or Kashmiri name. And the North-East? Oh they just don't want to sell the product there. Just as amazingly their "diversity" did not contain any testimony from non-Hindu users, Apart from a Jain(and possibly a Sikh). No Muslims and Christians please. our product will burn your Abrahamic skins!

Contrast that with Dove which had two Christian(probably Anglo-Indian) girls representing their product. Their ads regularly feature dark skinned women(without the "tumhari twacha alag hai" crap) and had a Laddakhi model once. Dove does not make false promises of making you fairer, just to make your skin beautiful. Ergo, Dove's ads are a lot more ethical and real. If I were a woman I would chose Dove over all the crappy "fair in 14 days" shitcreams.

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