Tag Archives: advertising

A Dad’s Dilemma: Dove and the Campaign for Real Beauty

I am torn. As the dad of a daughter, I know that she is going to be targeted by the beauty industry with GPS guided missile precision. They are going to do everything in their power to make her feel fat/ugly/outcast, and that their products are the answer to make her feel thin/beautiful/accepted.

What tears at me today is Dove and their Campaign for Real Beauty, a marketing campaign they have been running for the past few years. They have made this really fantastic video about the beauty industry – not their first, and, judging by the profits they are making since launching the campaign (sales up by 11.4% in the first quarter of 2005, just after the campaign launched), not their last.

The thing is – they ARE the beauty industry. And as much as I admire this video and the messages around it, I can’t help but feel that the message is absolutely tainted by the fact that it was funded by the very industry that it skewers.

Yet, it still remains a powerful video. It speaks to the issues that I, as a father, want to speak about with my daughter.

But in the back of my mind remains the niggling fact that the people who made this video are, ultimately, trying to sell their products in the worst way possible – by first convincing my daughter that she is worthless without them.

dove onslaught

Kid designed laptops

A bunch of 7-9 year olds in North Carolina were recently given the task of “designing” the perfect laptop. As someone who works in educational technology I’m finding some of the drawings these kids came up with quite interesting and more than a tad disconcerting.

Looking at these designs, it seems that the commercial and pop culture side of the web is hands down beating anything educational for these kids. To these kids, the web is a place where you buy things, play games, catch up on pop culture news and connect with friends.

Not surprisingly, almost every kid has a Games button, but what I find most fascinating is how attuned these 7-9 year olds are to consumer culture, marketing and pop culture. There are designs with buttons labeled “Buy”, “Shop” and “Order”, reflecting the fact that, to these kids buying things online is a perfectly natural extension of going online. Compare that to 10-15 years ago when e-commerce was still met with skepticism by many. To these Millennial, it is just part of their everyday life.

There are also buttons rife with pop culture references, like Webkniz and Barbie.com, and lots of gadget buttons. iPod, cell phone, video camera buttons, reflecting the ubiquity of electronic devices in kids lives. I’m sure it has been stated by someone somewhere, but it seems self evident that their generation will be the most documented in history.

I’m disheartened to find a lack of buttons to things like “dinosaurs” or buttons labeled National Geographic Kids or NASA Kids. It’s sad to think that well done information sites aimed at kids are losing out to Webkinz and Barbie. But I suppose if we had the same exercise with College level students we would probably see more Facebook and YouTube than their college library buttons.

One kid, bless ’em, did include a magical button that I am sure every parent would occasionally like to have on their keyboard – “babysitter”.

You can see some of the drawings these kids did at The Morning News site. If you want to read the original blog post (no photos, but more info on the laptop club), parent.thesis family blogger Amy Tiemann had the original post on CNet.

We interupt this blog for a juice break

Looks like my plea for more free swag to review paid off!

Dan at TrueBlue Blueberry Juice fired off some free samples to us. We got it, chilled it up and slurped it back in a couple of days. Verdict from all of us? Super yummy.

One of the blend varieties Dan sent us was a Blueberry/Blackberry blend that was a real hit. We’re Blackberry pickers, and spend a few days each August picking and freezing the berries. My wife’s hoarding tendencies actually turn her into a bit of a crack the whip berry bitch each August, but I digress. Getting the blackberry blend was a nice bonus.

My wife is kicking around a summer cocktail idea with it…vodka, crushed ice and the blackberry/blueberry juice. She calls it a Black n’ Blue. There are a few recipes on their website that look quite tasty, including this Blueberry Savoury Vinaigrette that would be great on a summer salad.

The only downside is that the juice has added sugar – cane sugar, mind you, but still added sugar. We’ve been very careful about giving sugar fruit juices to the girl. At 3, she has enough manic energy without having to give an extra dose of sugar in her drinks. But we cut her juice with water, so that helps.

If you want to try it, you can download a $1 off coupon from their website.

Now, I’m just hoping someone from DIRECTV reads this, realizes I can give them a free plug to 12 readers and decides to send me a demo of this so I can watch these guys while sitting on the beach. With a Black n’ Blue in my hand, natch.

Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie counsel overweight kids

Man, someone please tell me this is a really bad joke. From CommonSense Media.

The media is buzzing about the new season of The Simple Life in which scary skinny rich girls Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton take on the role of camp counselor, including counseling kids at a fat camp (or as E! prefers to call it, a weight loss/ fitness camp).

Seriously, this program idea is about as good as the one from last year where the Olsen Twins pitched a show about healthy eating.

You can just hear the inspiring and helpful advice coming from Ritchie, with her history of eating disorders, and Hilton, who once paraded around in a commercial in a swimsuit and a 50 pound hamburger.

“Like, you guys are so, like, fat.”

“Don’t you know people like us make fun of you.”

“Cause you’re fat and no one likes fat people.”

“Maybe you should, like, try sticking a finger down your throat.”

“Or drugs. Because then you wouldn’t be fat.”

“But we would still make fun of you.”

I know I should really have something much more intelligent and constructive to say here to add to the public discourse about this idiotic, and absurdly cruel, concept. But reading this and I have suddenly regressed back to being a fat little 8 year old kid with people poking me in the belly and laughing. I found that experience utterly humiliating and can’t imagine how horrific it might be for a kid to have their belly poked by a couple of uber Queen Bees in front of an international audience.

Living in a Pantone pink No. 241 world

Pantone pink No. 241…it’s the official shade of pink that Disney uses in their massively popular Princess line. And we seem to be awash in it these days with The Girl.

Christmas and birthday this year brought with it a slew of pink Princess branded products. To be fair, there was also some lavender, but for the most part The Girl’s playroom resembles the inside of a Pepto Bismal bottle. We are surrounded by Princesses.

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Dad can’t cut it according to KIA ad

oblivious.jpg

I know KIA has been taking some heat for their steamy guy – making – out – with – female – police – officer – in – the – back – of – a – KIA television commercials, but it’s their other current television advertisement that perpetuates the myth that Dad’s are inept caregivers that bothers me.

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