Remember the Dove ‘Evolution’ commercial?
A girl who is just-a-nobody is transformed.
She’s made-up, coiffured and photoshopped at super speed to show us how ideal beauty is manufactured.
Lank, lifeless hair becomes highlighted and lustrous with shape and body.
Then things change further with a click of a mouse.
Her neck is lengthened, her eyebrows gain a more aristocratic arch, her eyes and skin tones become good enough for an InStyle Magazine cover.
With further clicks they’re elevated to the level of a Vogue cover.
Thanks to those crafty studio artists this is the debut of perfection. Intensified perfection.
So after ‘ordinary’ is digitally turned into ‘extraordinary’, Dove makes its point: ‘No wonder our sense of beauty is distorted.’
Greeted with enthusiastic applause when it was first aired, we’re now even more keen on the Dove spot.
Because young women are trying urgently and desperately to be validated, supported and have a sense of worth in their own minds and in our culture.
A culture that all too often expects them to look a certain way.
A culture that says what you look like is more important than what’s inside.
‘Package yourself properly or get lost’ is a message young women frequently get.
You might want to see this for yourself on YouTube with the ‘Am I Pretty?’ videos.
There are more than a few of them.
Yes, they’re self-conscious, a bit me-obsessed, but they can’t be ignored as a social commentary about an inner life which can go unnoticed.
Even if you’re a marketer who isn’t in the beauty business, these personal statements should open your eyes.
Because they’re a call from young women who regularly feel like a nobody to be substantiated.
In that sense they are digital autobiographies about the need for authenticity and recognition that’s vital to everyone at every age.
Whatever you’re selling, these videos should remind you to be authentic as a brand.
Authenticity? It reveals a truth about your product or the lives of those you address. It uses emotion to make your message memorable.
Hopefully, the authentic qualities of the Am I Pretty? videos will stop you coming off as a huckster, merely spouting the features of your product.
They’ll encourage you to become more of a psychologist and an empathizer focused on the problems, opportunities, needs, obsessions, hates, loves and desires of your target audience.
With that, your messaging can shift from a conventional listing of product features to detailing product benefits for your customers.
As we are all told, it’s all about engagement.
You’re in charge of your brand, but as you well know, your brand’s perceptions are owned by the public. What they think matters – what you think matters less.
So why get bottled up in the cul-de-sac that is a brand without authenticity?
As a marketer you might want to take the soul-searching route of the Am I Pretty? videos and ask yourself, Am I Authentic?
If you’re not, one thing’s for sure.
You risk being just-a-nobody to your customers and prospects.
The power of authenticity. The appeal of benefits over features. What’s your take on these thoughts? Thanks, Steve Ulin.