It’s the age-old debate; inner vs. outer beauty. What matters more? We would all love to be idealistic and say inner I’m sure, but I think if we are truly honest with ourselves we would have to admit that outer is equally (if not more) important to us. Why is this?
There is a billion pound industry devoted to our appearance, and it’s going stronger than ever. In recent years there has been plenty of controversy about the impossible standards set by these companies, and it continues to drive a bigger and bigger wedge between our actual appearance and our perceptions of beauty. These companies have a lot to answer for.
There is however, at least one company who seems to be doing things differently. Dove’s ‘campaign for real beauty’ has been going for a while now, and they have already garnered plenty of praise. I don’t doubt they are reaping the benefits, but – like all truly great marketing – in these ads they are selling their products without the audience ever realising they are being sold to.
Their latest ad, courtesy of Ogilvy Brazil, is incredibly insightful and will speak to every woman who watches it. They have hired a highly-trained criminal sketch artist and asked several women to describe themselves to him. The artist then asks total strangers to describe these same women, and the differences between the two images are startling.
Watching these women’s reactions unsurprisingly forces us to examine our own self-image, and to wonder what we are basing this on.
Is this what marketing should aspire to be? Should social and moral responsibilities be just as important as the product being marketed?
They’re not just increasing their profit margins here, they are promoting positive images with a strong message about what beauty really is, and effectively they’re attempting to bring our perceptions and realities closer together. Ultimately, it’s about boosting our self-esteem. Considering the disturbing rate at which the number of reported bulimia and anorexia cases (as well as similar illnesses) has been rising, this cannot be a bad thing.
After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder – not in the pages of a glossy photoshopped magazine.