The boob that made the blunder!!!
Baby Dove, the skincare brand for little ones, has been on the receiving end of public criticism with their new range of adverts.The strapline for each advert is ‘what’s your way?’ which, according to Unilever the brand owner, aims to celebrate different styles of parenting.
For example, one of the adverts shows a crying baby and the words “36% are for feeding him when he cries, 64% are passionately against it. What’s your way?”.Ok, perhaps it’s not the most appealing of images (as a parent I cringe just thinking about the eardrum splitting noise that accompanies that screwed up face) but you get the point: Dove are emphasising the fact that we all parent differently. And that’s fine, because we do.Granted, I’m not too sure how that really sells bars of soap or skin lotion or whatever else they are pedaling – other than to say that their products do their job no matter how each person parents – but that’s what they’ve clearly decided will do the trick. So, fair play to Baby Dove.However, what they apparently hadn’t considered is the backlash they would receive over one ‘what’s your way’ advert in particular.
There’s every chance you’ve seen it by now but, if not, it’s the one with the boob that’s caused the blunder. An image of a breastfeeding baby is accompanied by the line: “75% say breastfeeding in public is fine, 25% say put them away. What’s your way?”
And if that wasn’t enough, their website makes the claim: “So whether you’re among the 66% who think that breastfeeding in public is fine, or the 34% who think otherwise, whatever choice you make, we are with you every step of the way.”
Irrespective of the inconsistency in figures, they seem to have lined themselves up to be shot down and it appears that the campaign wasn’t very well thought out at all.
Or was it? Perhaps the marketing powers that be at Baby Dove decided that a good strong dose of controversy was just what was needed to catapult the brand directly into the public eye.
And it certainly did that. But to what end?
When your primary target audience is mothers of small children, it seems a little misguided to focus on such a controversial topic, especially when you run the risk of opening yourself up to backlash from parents who believe that Dove is saying it’s acceptable to criticise breastfeeding in public.
Commenters believe that by stating (in a roundabout sort of a way) that it’s ok for people to tell breastfeeding mothers to ‘put them away’, the brand is also saying that it’s ok to tell someone who’s breastfeeding that they ought to cover up or sit and feed her baby in a toilet stall. And all this, of course, does nothing for the self-esteem and confidence of new parents, who need all the help and support they can get.
The most ironic thing about the blunder is the timing…. The campaign launched during National Breastfeeding Celebration week which starts on 26th June in England.
Considering all the negative consumer feedback they have already received, it will be interested to see what impact it has on Baby Dove sales and customer loyalty.
Of course, there is a lesson in this for all of us.
In today’s world, it seems everyone is entitled to have and air their opinion on subjects such as this, plus other controversial issues, including same sex marriage, emergency contraception, abortion and more. And rightly so. We should all be allowed to speak out mind.
However, we have all been in situations where someone has gone too far and perhaps said a little too much, to the degree that they have caused uproar or got peoples’ hackles up.
But what happens when it is a business and not an individual voicing their thoughts? It’s one thing to upset your friends or relatives – differences are likely to be forgotten about in a matter of days. But to rock the apple cart as a corporation could have far more wide-reaching effects and could possibly be fatal for the business.
Across the pond, a Forbes study revealed that Americans are “8.1% more likely to purchase from a company that shares their opinions and are 8.4% less likely to purchase from a company that doesn’t.” So, it’s clearly no longer just about their opinion of a company’s products or services.
Ok, it’s not a huge percent and this is a general overview: there are other factors to be taken into account, such as the age group of the audience (younger audiences appear to be more likely to support a corporation when beliefs tally, whereas senior audiences are more likely to hinder a corporation when opinions differ).
Plus, of course, the subject matter is all important. It’s one thing voicing an opinion on a subject that is not directly related to your organisation but to focus on something a little closer to home for those you are trying to reach – as did Baby Dove – well…. you could potentially be committing corporate suicide as you run the risk of upsetting and losing a proportion of your target audience.
So how should you handle it? Firstly, you need to be sure you point of view is genuine and not just a ruse to curry favour. You also shouldn’t make the mistake of using your opinion as a selling point for your brand. Oh, and make sure you word things properly too so it can’t be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
Most importantly though, it’s vital to understand your audience so that you don’t upset them and risk losing loyal customers.
So, get in touch with The Monachie Project team and let us offer you a detailed perception of your organisation and its current market needs from a customer perspective, so you don’t ‘do a Dove’ and make a boob when airing your opinion in public.