by: Alain Thys
If I were responsible for corporate PR at Unilever, I'd be getting little bit nervous about the chatter in the blogosphere these days. A few weeks ago, there was the video by Rye Clifton (see below) in which he challenged the company's dual position on women. With Dove they take the high ground, and defy the beauty industry's push for übersexy women. With Axe, they then do exactly what they condemn.
Professional marketers of course know this is driven by a supreme insight of what drives individual target markets. And let's face it, when it comes to acting on insights, the guys at Unilever are about as good as it gets. Still, those who are less commercially savvy (i.e. the other 99.99% of people) might consider these double standards a bit as, ... double standards?
My guess is that the cat is slowly coming out of the bag and by contradicting their own moral stance, a few Unilever silo-separated executives are skating on very thin ice.
So while I'd be the last to argue against a tactic that's apparently raking in the millions, I do wonder whether in marketing-land there is something like "serial authenticity" and if so, how long Unilever can keep it up.
Let's all watch, and learn ...