Dove's Latest Video Ad Misses the Mark

Empowering or discouraging? Watch Dove's new video.
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Empowering or discouraging? Watch Dove's new video.

My too-cynical nature often precludes me from enjoying things like greeting cards and viral Facebook memes requesting you to "share this if you love your sons!" It's also the reason I can't get behind Dove's various ad campaigns touting body acceptance and self-love.

Don't get me wrong. Like many women, I often think I'm too fat, too unattractive, too old -- I wish I could stop engaging in this kind of negative thinking. But I can't take the message seriously when it comes from a beauty conglomerate that directly profits from women's insecurities by selling us things to keep our skin looking younger and our armpits from stinking. (Although I suppose you could argue that these products do make me feel better about myself. On days when I forget to put on deodorant, it's borderline traumatic.) Dove's latest video campaign may be the least effective of the series, though.

In its latest ad, called "Patches," a researcher meets with several women who don't feel beautiful. She tells them to wear Dove's new "beauty patch," (a fake product that you can't actually buy) for 12 hours a day over a two-week week period and keep a video diary of how they're feeling. Turns out that they all started feeling better about themselves, nose zits and all. The punchline is: There was nothing in the patch! You did it all with the power of your mind!

First of all, I'm slightly concerned that no one thought to ask, "What's in this thing before I stick it on my skin for 12 hours?" (Not to be paranoid, but you can't always trust a soft-spoken, kindly woman in a white lab coat, amirite? Anyone who watches Homeland knows this.) To me, this little experiment is just confirmation to every other beauty company out there that hey, women actually really do buy into what we tell them about products. Woohoo! This eye cream will get rid of crow's feet. This toothpaste will whiten your teeth. This patch will make you feel more beautiful.

I realize that Dove thinks its message here is, "You don't need the patch to feel beautiful." It's an admirable message, just not coming from a beauty company which sells products that are indeed intended make you feel more beautiful. I feel like these women got punk'ed. It's like when models give their tips about how to have a better self-image or Gwyneth Paltrow talks about how hard it is to be a working mother: The source taints the message.

Take a peek at the video above and let's chat about it in the comments. Maybe I'm just too bitter.