Dove – does one size fit all?

Which bottle are you? Rather than perpetuating the brand’s body positive image, Dove’s new Body Shaped shower gel bottles fail to understand real consumer needs.

Since their heart-warming and empowering 2013 advertising campaign, ‘Real Beauty’, Dove has gained the status of ‘Womankind’s champion’. ‘Real Beauty’ reflected how women often have negative perceptions of their appearances and aimed to build the self-confidence of women by celebrating beauty in all shapes and sizes.

Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign has been causing a stir online again recently – but this time opinion is split. The brand giant has released a new range of bottles that reflect the different body types of women. Whilst some see this as an extension of Dove’s passion for celebrating uniqueness and beauty in all of its forms, many consider the packaging to be a bit too patronising and contradictory to the ‘Real Beauty’ campaign.

The key issue for many women is that they do not want a physical manifestation of their body in an awkwardly shaped bottle, preferring a body neutral product that works for them no matter how they look.

Moreover, as pointed out by numerous critics – by positioning their designs as the ‘wrong fit’, rather than ‘beautifully crafted’, Dove have missed the opportunity for their bottles to be aspirational. Instead they have created a range of designs that confuse the brands emotional body positive image message on shelf, and have caused consumers to question their appearance.

Creating an innovative, personalised way to connect with consumers through packaging will always be hard but is vitally important for brands that wish to stay ahead, especially ones like Dove that have such highly charged emotional messages. But, as this example demonstrates, such packaging must have a design and a message that truly understands what the brand stands for, and crucially, what consumers expect from it, both on shelf and in their lives.

The Herd

24.05.17