Saturday, September 27, 2008

No Turn Unstoned: Does Dove fall from the penthouse to the, well, you know

Dove has had much deserved success with their Campaign For Real Beauty. The latest instalation is called Onslaught, and as a slap at the beauty business, it's pretty interesting:

But Greenpeace says there's a dark side to all this sweetness and light:

Sure, it looks like Dove is cleaning up its act, but authentic marketing guru, Joseph Jaffe of Jaffe Juice has his concerns about Dove brand damage:

"It's a far cry from Slob Evolution, which was a playful and irreverent spoof of the ground-breaking Evolution video, which seemingly ushered in a new era of thoughtful and purpose-based brands that put authenticity, transparency and social responsibility before corporate greed, profits and acquisition.

Until now...

On one hand, this sends out the clearest of messages to faker brands looking to "get in on the conversation" by sending out a stern warning: you gotta walk your talk if you want to join the conversation. Think like an advertiser and attempt to cut corners and you will be found out and duly punished.

Put differently, if you want to commit to community, dialogue and partnership, you need to have your entire house in order first.

Now that said....I would be remiss by dumping on Unilever if I didn't point out this timely update from Greenpeace itself:

'UPDATE: Thanks to the staggering public support for our international Dove campaign in April 2008, Unilever has now agreed to play their part in saving the Paradise Forests of South East Asia. As the biggest single buyer of palm oil in the world, Unilever has a special responsibility to help clean up the industry that's behind so much forest destruction.

They have agreed to support the call by Greenpeace for an immediate moratorium on deforestation for palm oil plantations. They have also agreed to urgently contact other major companies calling on them to support the moratorium.

This is the first success in a broader campaign to secure real change on the ground in South East Asia -- to stop the palm oil industry from destroying the Paradise Forests. Greenpeace campaigners will work with Unilever for th next six months (starting May 2008) to bring together a major coalition of companies to make the moratorium a reality. We will see at the end of this period how things are progressing and if we need to change our campaign approach.'

The update is both in the information box on the YouTube video post, as well as in the comment thread. It certainly alludes to the fact that Unilever is listening and although being taken to task, is prepared to change or at least take steps in the right direction.

That said, I wonder how many people will notice this "fyi" and in the process, how much brand reputation damage will occur?"

Face it, brand damage doesn't just kill product sales, it can make stock prices plummet and seriuosly endanger the brand's credibility among consumers. Not something Unilever likes to think about, it sounds like to me.

If you were a PR person at Unilever, what would you do?