Dove offers to pay other brands to diversify their ads
- Unilever’s Dove brand is promoting inclusivity in advertising by offering to subsidize the cost of hiring diverse talent from other brands, according to Dove South Africa’s website and a recent Dove South Africa YouTube video of the effort. The It’s On Us campaign, which began in 2020 and continues this year, is an extension of Dove’s #ShowUs project to create a collection of 10,000+ images that show a broader vision of beauty for advertisers and the media.
- “We decided to hack the advertising industry from the inside out and infiltrate international casting calls with real beauty models from the #ShowUs project,” the website says about “It’s On Us”. The models who participate in casting calls also convey the message that Dove will pay her performance fee if they are selected for an ad and show it for who she really is.
- Unilever, one of the largest marketers in the world, has stepped up its commitment to purpose-driven marketing by channeling some of that money into the endeavors of other marketers. Magnum, Krispy Kreme, Cif and Nedbank have joined Dove in the effort, according to the brand’s website, which provides a form for other brands to request to participate.
Dove’s “It’s On Us” campaign reflects how the advertising industry is looking for ways to go beyond the promise of diversity and inclusion to find solutions that turn their promises into reality. Unilever is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in advertising and, as a way to move the industry forward, subsidizes the cost of hiring diverse talent through other brands.
The news comes as research by the Association of National Advertisers advertising industry group shows marketers are falling short on their diversity and inclusion pledges, and the organization is working on developing messaging tools to help marketers measure and figure out their efforts in this area where to move forward.
“It’s On Us” also shows how Dove’s marketing around beauty is evolving. While the effort is based on a survey that found 70% of women feel unrepresented in the media and advertising, it is also in line with a longer-term theme that runs through Dove’s marketing efforts, particularly the one that is being launched “Campaign for Real Beauty”. 2004 to build trust with women and children.
In general, parent company Unilever has made social inequality a higher priority alongside tackling climate change. As part of the effort, Unilever agreed in January to feature more diverse groups in its advertising, not just in front of the camera, but also with the agencies and producers it hires. Efforts include increasing spending on suppliers owned or operated by people from underrepresented groups. The It’s On Us campaign shows that Unilever is funding its promise to push other brands to promote diversity and inclusion in their advertising.
Unilever also recently announced plans to stop using the word “normal” in the advertising and packaging of its beauty and personal care brands, in an expression of its drive to be less exclusive. The move followed its announcement last summer, amid mass protests for racial justice worldwide, to remove the words “fair / fairness”, “white / whitening” and “light / lightening” from its packaging and messages. It has renamed its Fair & Lovely skin-lightening line, which is particularly popular in Asia, to Glow and Lovely. Several reviewers viewed the changes as cosmetic, claiming the idea of a skin lightening product was inevitably problematic, Forbes reported.
Unilever plans to invest $ 2.4 billion over the next two years to support high-growth businesses such as beauty products, plant-based foods and e-commerce. The consumer goods giant increased its marketing spending by $ 192.4 million last year after initially saving its budget during the first-half lockdown. Due to store closures, more than 50% of beauty sales came through e-commerce channels last year, according to the quarterly report.