Dove Evolution vs. Fair And Lovely: Could You Create Both?

[UPDATE 7/5/07] If you came from the link on, welcome. I think this is simply a very interesting comparison of how one company, albeit a conglomerate, markets its products in different cultures and countries.
Well, Dove Evolution won big at Cannes, as many predicted. From Adweek:

“It’s a big idea, beautiful execution and a powerful story for Dove to tell,” said Bob Scarpelli, jury president of the Film and Press Lions and chairman and CCO at DDB Worldwide. “We believe in the power and the goodness of the idea.”

So what does Unilever, Dove’s parent company, believe? Let’s see 2 Unilever ads, side-by-side, one for Dove and one for a skin whitening product called “Fair and Lovely”:

So, does a global company like Unilever have any responsibility to promote its multiple brands in an equally uplifting manner? Should Cannes judges emerge from their drunken stupor to care about what a company really believes as opposed to just deciding that an ad is cool? Is there any hope for consistent messaging in fashion and beauty advertising?
Oh, and is anyone else really creeped out by the copy in the Fair and Lovely ad, which suggests that you’ll only be hired for a TV gig if you use a skin cream that lets you acheive “total fairness”?
I’d love to know what y’all think. I’d especially love to hear from Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin, i.e, “Jancy”, who made the Dove spot. After all, the same company paid for and approved of both of these. How can anyone reconcile the disparity between these two spots? Is it our job as advertising professionals to care what our clients do on a larger scale? Should anyone give a shit?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.