Done With Dove

Dove-Advert-600x600

Image courtesy of BellaNaija.com

Y’all remember that line President Bush jacked up while he was in office….(the one J. Cole used in his song No Role Models). No? Well he was trying to dole out an old saying, “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice and shame on me.” Needless to say he failed miserably.

And so it historically goes with Dove’s marketing strategies.

One of their recent Facebook ads went left real quick when Black women saw their skin depicted as undesirable and ugly. The ad shows Black women removing their skin toned tee shirts to reveal white women in white tee shirts. The accompanying words to the ad read, “….Our revolutionary line that improves the look of your skin…” They promise ‘You’ll see more visibly beautiful skin in just one week.”

 

Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get to the bottom of the subliminal messaging in this ad nor to understand the intended interpretation. And while Dove may not have consulted any rocket scientists, they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for market analysis, marketing consultants with a deep understanding for psychology and behavioral science. Plainly stated, they know down to a science the impact and influence of their campaigns. Choose either one:

  • Choose Beautiful
  • Real Beauty
  • Love Your Hair

Seems like every quarter they’ve got a new one to launch some new “revolutionary” beauty movement slyly connected to the billion dollar projected sells.

Yet with each of these Dove campaigns Black women find themselves offered Fool’s Gold. They hashtag us into this wonderful land of acceptance and empowerment, just to promote images that reinforce stigmas and stereotypes that have historically been called out as problematic to say the least, and racist to tell the truth.  The outrage is nothing new. Check their track record, even as early as Spring 2017. And back in 2015.  And back in 2011.

But here’s the gag…Black women go right back and spend our dollars where we are devalued.

Why? Shame on US!

Shame on us that we keep directing ourselves and our daughters to show loyalty to brands that blatantly show their disrespect to our beauty, our image, our cultural traditions and our very souls.

The pattern goes like this: Horrendous and offensive ad followed by a well-written corporate apology which is  then backed by hiring the new Black champion of the company to appease us right back to the stores to purchase their goods. Rinse and repeat. See Scandal and Olivia Pope for perspective on public scandal clean ups. 

Nielsen has proven to us our buying power. Don’t you know companies are paying attention to those reports as well? They are hip to the game. They see us going natural, they will tap into that market yet refuse to shed their racist views and prejudices. Understand that Dove and its parent company, Unilever, are veterans in the marketing game. They’ve been rewarded 100 times over and lauded the victor by many advertising journals, associations, etc.

And we have rewarded them with our loyalty. Why?

So the question is when will we be done with Dove and all companies who continue to devalue our magic? Will our insult level ever be as low as the value companies regard us?

Here’s a hashtag to consider #DoneWithDove. Better than that, let’s support the companies who never miss their mark because they themselves are the mark! Here’s a few BLACK-OWNED beauty/skin care companies who can benefit from your dollars and loyalty (please add more to comments):

 

Yail’s Garden

Two Sisters Organic Skincare

Body and Soul Naturally

TGIN-Thank God I’m Natural

NUNI Products

 

It ain’t college, it’s the real world!

It’s that time of the year… the glimmer and glam pave the way from prom to the pomp and circumstance of graduation as girls are marching beyond high school, off to realize dreams. And as a great number of our girls continue to march their way on to college campuses, far too often they do so guided by the philosophy that a college degree will be their passport to the real world. It’s true, a college degree does afford entry into greater opportunities. However, we have got to halt the perpetuating send off that says personal control over their livelihood is on hold until they return home from a 4 year stint of academic and social revelry.

The truth is,  without getting too deep into the metaphysical, the moment they leave home and have to make choices independent of parental direction or adult dictation, girls (or more appropriately young women) have stepped into their real world.

When I made my transition to college, I remember clinging desperately to lessons from the closest ideal of college life I had, the television hit show, A Different World. That show dealt with almost every possible issue a Black girl could experience on college campus.

Just like then, we should equip girls with a few key beliefs as they make their way in the real world. While A Different World is still a media resource full of lessons for our girls heading off to college campus, they also need a dose of reality. Here is a vital list of mind sets our girls must adopt when heading to college real world:

Be enterprising: tap into an innate gift and skill set to earn supplemental income while away at college. From fashion design, hair and nails, blogging, makeup, tutoring, photography there are tons of ideas for dorm room enterprise. This income can be used at their discretion to fund clothing and personal hygiene expenses; spring/summer break excursions; or general expenses. Furthermore, this is money that can be saved for major investments right after college. Think first home, relocation, car, stocks.

Be a conscious consumer: Never too early to learn this! But college is definitely an opportune time to harness power over the dollars young women spend. Take a critical lens to brands which attempt to influence loyalty without much accountability nor personal return. Look at the brands that support causes and community initiatives that are relevant to you as a consumer. And take special note of brands that offer paid interns to college students like you.

Have an open mind: There are millions of perspectives and viewpoints beyond what you were raised around. Be open to gaining new experiences and getting to know people from various backgrounds whose beliefs and perspectives may be completely different than what you are familiar with. Expand your perception.

Be intentional: There will be plenty competing for your time and attention. Everything from classes to social clubs to campus involvement. Be sure whatever you devote your time to is intentional and aligned with the goals you have set for yourself. Joining organizations, like a sorority, should be given careful consideration so that it is not about popularity or hanging out, but connected to your future career and community service goals. Even your travels and breaks should be intentional. Yes, it would be fun to party in Miami for Spring break, but remember you can gain some international exposure as well. Many universities offer study abroad courses; perfect for those looking to secure a career in foreign relations, global diversity, government, teaching, etc.

Be healthy! Your health is real from the moment you take your first breath, and it becomes all the more important with every new plateau you reach. The “freshman 15” is real…mentally and physically your body must adjust to its new environment. Weight gain, stress, new sleeping patterns all have an impact. Stay fit. Take advantage of your campus recreation and health care facilities.

Be protective…and selective! Take precautions to become familiar with your campus  AND surrounding areas. Being on college campus does not mean young women will be immune to real world risks. From natural disasters to sexual relations, young women MUST be prepared. Become familiar with emergency plan on school’s website. Know safe routes when walking alone or at night. Be aware of areas off campus that may pose risks such as robberies, rape, etc. Observe new acquaintances to see who is trustworthy, as well as to see who exhibits self love. Be wary of those who have destructive tendencies (drinking, drugs, bad study habits). Also, be proactive in your intimate relationships. Protect yourself. Remember STI’s and unplanned pregnancy are most high on college campuses. Dating violence is also a factor, so again be keenly aware of acquaintances and their behaviors. Have your safe stash with emergency money, condoms, up to date prescriptions for medications, emergency contacts and numbers.

A few websites to check out for safety:

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)

The SIWE Project

Planned Parenthood

Black Youth Project

Federal Emergency Management Agency

This list is just a start. What else should be included? What words of wisdom should our girls pack in their luggage heading to their “real world?” Share in the comments below.

Oh and just for fun, here are a few of my favorite “life-lesson” Different World episodes: