Blast away unsightly cellulite with lasers! Pop pills to enlarge your breasts! Look ten years younger with anti-aging creams! Lose 20 lbs. in 20 days by following this simple diet of berries and twigs! Sweat more! Breathe less!
Do you want to be beautiful? Of course you do. But you won’t be unless you slim down, tone up, slather your body with salves and ointments, and inject paralyzing toxins into your face. It’s the only way.
That is the message that women are bombarded with constantly. By most accounts, Americans are exposed to more than 3,000 advertisements every single day, and no small part of that number is comprised of ads that promise to make us better, faster, stronger with the help of fad diets, exercise crazes, and beauty products.
We’re simply not good enough on our own – we need the help of experts and their miracle cures to be beautiful. Don’t we?
Not if Dove has its way.
A brand-new advertising campaign by the toiletries company responsible for “The Campaign for Real Beauty” aims to change this paradigm through interactive marketing. Dove has created “The Ad Makeover,”a Facebook app that “gives [users] the power to replace feel-bad ads with messages that help women feel beautiful instead.”
How does it work?
Facebook users in Australia and Brazil (currently the only countries where the app is available) can download “The Ad Makeover” and choose from a list of messages (“The perfect bum is the one you’re sitting on,” “Joy is the best makeup”) and target audiences (“For women thinking about love/careers/fitness”) for whom the ad will appear. Through ad-buys, Dove will rotate the user-generated ads into the existing stream of ads that women on Facebook see, as demonstrated by this video:
Despite the objections of some advertising industry executives, whose knee-jerk reaction to the experiment has been predictably critical (“I don’t know how you can plan ahead for something that may or may not appear because someone else’s creative campaign is seized by the collective social universe in Facebook,” says MediaCom’s Nick Keenan), the significance of this innovative marketing approach could be far-reaching, regardless of the specific campaign to which it is tied.
The opportunity for consumers to become actively engaged with advertising is a novel development in the consumer/marketer relationship, and one that could permanently change its dynamic for the better.
As The Atlantic’s Rebecca J. Rosen asserts, “Tipping some of the power in this equation back toward consumers seems like fundamentally a good thing, though the difficulty lies in assessing whether that power is real or illusory… In the end, the story of the age of the interactive ad will be one of that tension, about how we, as consumers, will control marketing – and how much it will control us.”
It is a complex balance that will surely require time, and experimentation, to fine tune. But, in the meantime, I will happily take an affirmation of “Your birthday suit suits you” over a panicked “Shed those pounds before bikini season!” any day.