Meet the Dove Soap video game ad.
Dove, the globally recognized personal care brand, has recently launched a new ad campaign in partnership with "The Drum" marketing company. The campaign takes aim at the representation of women in video games and seeks to challenge and reform the stereotypical portrayal of overly sexualized women in the gaming industry.
The campaign, as advertised in The Drum's tweet, is a collaboration with Epic Games' Unreal Engine education team and Women in Games, aiming to eliminate stereotypes and build young players’ self-esteem and body confidence. However, this message is proving to be contentious and has raised questions about the campaign's effectiveness and the inherent message it seems to send.
However, the execution of the campaign and the underlying message have become a point of controversy on social media platforms and among video game enthusiasts. The contention arises from the perception that the campaign portrays overweight women as inherently unattractive, a message counterintuitive to Dove's long-standing commitment to promoting body positivity and self-confidence.
Critics argue that Dove's campaign seems to imply that not looking like a video game character, often a highly idealized and unrealistic portrayal of the human form, should be a source of discomfort or shame. This message could inadvertently exacerbate the already prevalent body image issues among consumers, especially younger players who are more impressionable.
Now, to be fair, the gaming industry has a history of objectifying women, and there's a need for more diverse body representation. However, the way Dove and The Drum have approached this issue seems to be causing more harm than good. It appears as though the campaign fails to acknowledge that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, a message Dove has consistently advocated for in past campaigns.
What is perhaps more concerning is the disconnection between Dove's consumer base and the gaming community. By venturing into the gaming industry, a space traditionally not within Dove's domain, the company seems to be making a well-intentioned but misguided attempt at connecting with a new demographic.
This disconnection is further amplified by the fact that the campaign does not offer a nuanced understanding of the gaming industry and its audience. Video games, like any other form of media, often employ hyperbolic and exaggerated designs for their characters, not to set standards for real-life beauty, but to create visually compelling and distinctive characters.
Dove's new campaign with The Drum is a bold attempt in addressing a pertinent issue in the gaming industry. However, it falls short due to its oversimplification of the issue and the inadvertent negative messaging it projects. Dove, a company known for its 'Real Beauty' campaigns, needs to reevaluate the execution of this initiative, ensuring that it aligns with its well-established brand values and does not alienate or harm any potential or existing consumers. It also serves as a reminder that while venturing into new demographic territories can be beneficial, it requires a deep understanding of the target audience's culture and sensibilities.
...and this isn't their first botched ad campaign, either. Here's one from 2017. Yes, this is real. WTF is going on over at Dove???