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For years now, the marketing team over at Dove has been working to make their brand's name synonymous with body positivity.

2015's "Choose Beautiful" campaign. GIF from Dove/YouTube.

The company's latest campaign, released in the U.K., tries to address body image issues with ... a more diverse range of bottle shapes? Seriously. Um.


Image from Dove UK/YouTube.

Body positivity and body diversity are serious issues, but the premise behind this campaign is majorly silly, and people wasted no time making jokes at the brand's expense.

Yes, bodies do come in all shapes and sizes, and that's a good thing! Yes, social beauty standards are harmful! But no, adding an additional six bottle shapes to your lineup doesn't really have anything to do with how people actually feel about their bodies. In fact, the whole thing sounds like a bit from a "30 Rock" episode.

Author Mara Wilson compared headlines championing the body wash to something more suited for the satirical feminist site Reductress.

Journalist Rachel Handler poked fun at the bottles' wild disregard for anatomical correctness. (No, this is not a request to make anatomically correct human-plastic bottle hybrids. Please don't.)

And Cosmopolitan's Carina Hsieh provided everyone with enough nightmare fuel to last into the foreseeable future.

There's a real question to be asked about what role brands should (or can) play in building social awareness.

On one hand, brands have a giant platform and can help promote positive messages (see Budweiser's pro-immigration Super Bowl ad or Heineken's recent ad about bridging political divides); on the other, sometimes it just comes off as a craven money grab (see Pepsi). That's the tricky thing about businesses wading into the social-political world: At their core, they're still businesses, and their primary goal will always be to try to make money or sell a product.

Many people have written about the limits of "woke capitalism," and it's definitely a topic on which reasonable people can and do disagree.

There are a lot of great resources on the internet about body positivity and fat acceptance (which you can check out here, here, and here).

Maybe the Dove ad wouldn't have been so bad if it had just made a little more sense.

Nylon magazine's Angela Lashbrook sums the whole thing up pretty well.

There is one thing Dove (and other companies) can do to promote body positivity, and it's super easy.

At other times, Dove has been praised for featuring real women who aren't models in their ads. But really, wouldn't it be great if every brand did that every day?

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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Democracy

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Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

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Paul Rudd in 2016.

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