Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap

Soap is one of those products that we all use on a daily basis. Very few of us would consider it to be a very exciting product, nor would we consider it to be controversial in any way.

In colonial and early pioneer days, everyone had to make their own soap, since you couldn’t simply go to the store and buy the stuff. Needless to say, it was a time consuming and arduous task, and it didn’t always turn out the way that you wanted it. The link below provides some of the details about the process:

On November 6, 1959, Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel started a company called Amway, and their product line was almost exclusively health, beauty, and home care products. Initially, the company’s ONLY product was an organic liquid cleaner, but it soon added other products as well. Rather than sell their products in retail stores, the company relied on a multi-level marketing system to sell and distribute its goods. The company’s sales strategy turned out to be extremely successful. In 2014, the company’s annual sales were $11.8 billion, and the products are sold in 80 countries. As of today’s date, Richard DeVos is worth $5.1 billion. Upon his death, his son Dick (and his wife Betsy) will inherit that vast fortune, which is larger than the net worth of Betsy’s new boss, Donald Trump, who is “only” worth $3.7 billion.

In the early 1970’s, a woman named Marilyn Chambers played the role of the Ivory Snow Girl. Since the Ivory Snow Girl was “99 and 44/100ths percent pure”, her role would not have been the least bit controversial. However, Proctor and Gamble soon discovered that she was the starring actress in a 1972 adult film titled “Behind the Green Door”, and she quickly became the FORMER Ivory Snow Girl.

Despite their best intentions, even large companies sometimes make mistakes in their advertising campaigns, and Dove is the latest example of a company stepping in dog doo doo.

Although the company stated that its intent with the latest ad was to be inclusive, it turned out to be racially insensitive, and it was not the first time that the company had made a similar error.

I’m fairly certain that there will be people in our country who will stop buying Dove products, but I’m also fairly certain that the “controversy” will soon be forgotten by most of us, and the company will not suffer very much for its error. The Dove brand commands a 21% share of the personal cleansing category, significantly higher than the 14% share held by second place Dial. Dove’s parent, Unilever, has annual annuals in excess of $50 billion,   

Dove quickly apologized for its ad, and quickly withdrew it, effectively “washing their mouth out with soap”. The fact that they “came clean” in a timely manner makes it much easier to move on to their next campaign, and we can all move concern ourselves with the NEXT “crisis of the week”.

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