Dove Ad "Real Beauty Sketches" just trying to sell you stuff, shockingly.

Watch the video above first, for the happy, self-affirming glow it’ll give you.

This skillful piece of viral marketing was created by Dove, who you probably remember as being responsible for the Campaign for Real Beauty. Lambasted for their previous videos for being hypocritical, self-serving and promulgating the same unrealistic standards for woman that they claimed to oppose, they still managed to reach a staggering amount of people (and grow their net profit by hundreds of millions).

This is their latest offering, and it’s already made hundreds of people burst into tears (oh! the feels!) It’s got a great message — you’re more beautiful than you think you are.

A couple of things to think about:

  • Dove is a brand owned by the same company (Unilever) that also markets Axe (Lynx in the UK, Eire, Australia and New Zealand). You know, the commercials where hundreds of bikini-clad women crazed with sexual desire mob unsuspecting blokes who happen to apply the product to their underarms.

  • It carefully manages to appear to present a lofty, wholesome message, whilst really just peddling the same old marketing crap: being good-looking is really what you should most aspire to. Your self-worth should be based on how other people see you.

  • This is a commercial. Just because it doesn’t explicitly say “buy our stuff” doesn’t mean it isn’t saying “buy our stuff”. This isn’t some selfless campaign to educate people and give them a nice little boost. It’s just business.

There’s nothing wrong with being marketed to… as long as you’re aware that you’re being marketed to.