Smelly soap and shampoo company Dove is known for sappy advertisements and public relations endeavors designed to make women feel better about their outer appearance (with a little help from Dove products, of course). Whether this widespread crisis of looks is true or not, giving women a reason to feel good about themselves is typically a positive.
However, Dove’s recent #SpeakBeautiful campaign borders on being a little weird. Using what must be some kind of low self-esteem radar, Dove has recently been using its Twitter account to personally assure female users that they are in fact having a good hair day or that they are beautiful. Dove has been replying directly to Twitter users who complain about how they look with tweets aimed at boosting their confidence. On the surface this seems innocuous enough, but when you really think about it, it’s a bit bizarre.
As of late, it seems Dove has held back with directing unsolicited good vibes to random strangers. Before this change though, what Dove was doing was strange. These are not exclusively people who have mentioned their SpeakBeautiful hashtag. A robot of some kind on Dove’s end was scouring Twitter for those complaining about their looks. Though publicly posting any information on the internet should never be considered to be in any way private, this takes that notion too far.
Public relations is often about promoting your client’s product without bluntly promoting it. Much of advertising as shifted the same way. Dove is trying way too hard with this stunt, and being way too obvious. They’re a beauty company after all. The conflict of interest here is painfully clear. Taking advantage of women who are feeling aesthetically vulnerable in order to make them think of Dove when they’re making their shampoo purchase is wrong.
Making women feel beautiful doesn’t happen as a result of a Twitter robot calling out negative remarks about appearances. It comes from brothers, boyfriends, fathers, husbands, and friends making the women in our lives feel beautiful. Tell them they look wonderful, and you’ll do more good than Dove will ever be able to.