Advertising today is political and your best new idea may come from a small office you maintain halfway around the world. Those are two of the four lessons that ad guru Randall Rothenberg takes from the continued success of the Dove "Real Beauty" campaign (that's the one with the naked women).
"Say what you will about globalization," he writes in Advertising Age, "but it works for idea flows. The "Real Beauty" concept originated in Ogilvy's Dusseldorf office, then rapidly made its way to London." Then onto New York.
Regarding politics, he writes: "Even the most conventional products must take a position in a public debate. Thirty years ago, least-offensive programming dominated advertising and programming. Today, provocation is in order." He then quotes Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide CEO Shelly Lazurus as saying, the question is, "Can your brand lead a movement?"
As for the other two points, they deal with innovation and with the Web. Rothenberg says that Dove was actually able to keep its advertising spending low because it put into action a number of inexpensive and innovative buzz-centric campaigns that engaged consumers through SMS text messaging, flashing billboards, and the like. Dove (a product of Unilever) also engaged consumers on the Web. The lesson, says Rothenberg, is that "dialogue is de rigeur." (Here's the link to the column.)
What do you think? Do you think the Dove campaign is effective product marketing, or is it simply provocative artwork. Moreover, do you think that these are the four lessons learned from the campaign? What other lessons might there be? And are any of these four points is, in your mind, more pivotal to the campaign than the others?
Last updated: Mar 6, 2007
MIKE HOFMAN was previously editor of Inc.com and a deputy editor at Inc. magazine, which he joined in 1996. The site was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Digital Media in 2010, and was named the best business website by Folio Magazine. In 2006, Hofman was part of a team of writers nominated for a Webby Award for best business blog. He lives in New York City. @mikehofman