More Moronic Misogyny From Unilever

Our old reliable favorite, Axe perfumes for adolescent males, is at it again, taking heavily-researched stupidity-promotion and self-delusion to still new levels.  According to the latest Advertising Age:

Axe ads have traditionally been about products that instantly turn women into lust-crazed vixens bent on coupling with Axe-wearing gents as quickly as possible. But in the first ad for the new fragrance Twist, a robot makes over the guy repeatedly during the course of a date in which the woman appears acutely interested only at the end. The ad is based on a concept co-created by consumers and ad agency Ponce (in late 2008, the agency was renamed Ponce Buenos Aires after Fernando Vega Olmos left to work on Unilever at JWT).

Women get bored easily,” notes a version of the ad for Axe sibling Lynx in the U.K., which touts a “fragrance that changes.”

The reality, said David Cousino, global director of consumer and marketing insights at Unilever, is that all fragrances change, starting with a fresh, strong, usually citrusy top note that lasts for as long as an hour and aims to help cover the smell of alcohol-based propellants as they evaporate, progressing to a generally richer, milder mid-note and a longer-lasting and often subtler-still “dry-down” note. This is all old hat to fragrance developers and marketers, he said, but it was new and fascinating to the consumers in the development group.

“The guys linked that to the mating game and how guys are feeling that they need to constantly change and evolve to keep the girls interested,” Mr. Cousino said.

“Women get bored easily”?  Really?  In the 21st century, big businesses are still getting away with this?

And people wonder about the cultural impact of corporate marketing?

Annals of Commodification: Lotion for Men

fraud As the world careens toward ecocide and social collapse, the corporate capitalists are hard at work thinking of (wait for it…) ways to sell lotion to men:

http://www.strongerskin.com/strongerskin/

It’s  all there — all the standard marketing tactics — in this one.  Lies, flattery, “aspirational” promises, and, of course, a bedrock of carefully-researched intentional fraud.

“Weak skin” is not a real medical problem.  To the extent skin health is a real issue, it is 99 percent determined by diet, water-intake, and lifestyle habits.  Rubbing on lotion does little or nothing to make human skin “strong.”  At most, it makes skin temporarily smooth and greasy feeling.

Of course, you can’t sell lotion to men based on a desire to have soft-feeling skin for a few hours.  Hence, this stunning piece of tendentious diarrhea.

Brought to you by Unilever, the same assholes who also peddle perfume (Axe Body Spray) to teenage boys…

The Axe Fraud Spreads

As the world hurtles toward its Mad Max future, what are our wonderful corporate capitalist behavior manipulators spending their time researching?

Can you get males to start thinking more about their looks than they currently do?

landfillAs part of this valiant soap-selling endeavor, we are about to witness the expansion of the Unilever corporation’s efforts to foist its shameful Axe line of products on teenage boys with the preposterous promise that smelling of Axe will get you laid.

The Procter & Gamble conglomerate is now taking this pathetic fraud to the next older age group with the new “pheromone-infused” Dial for Men Magnetic Attraction Enhancing Body Wash.

And people wonder how American culture gets so moronified…

Dove Droppings: A Campaign of Real Fakery

For some time, the Unilever Corporation has been peddling its extensive line of unsustainably packaged, mostly ineffective and unnecessary “Dove” brand products under its “Campaign for Real Beauty” marketing strategy.

The basic idea is pure big business marketing Flipthink: Having been at the forefront of the hundred-year drive to push cosmetics and “aspirational” body and beauty images on women, why don’t we strike a pose as if we’re now really quite disgusted by and opposed to manipulating female self-perceptions? Hey, what a great way to sell whole new floods of crap to the Bubbettes! Genius!

Here’s what Unilever says on a webpage allegedly (when a corporation publicly admits whom it is targeting, you ought to smell a rat) targeted at 11-to-16 girls*:

Image Manipulation: It’s hard to know what’s real anymore. Photo imaging software ensures every food product looks yummy, every car looks sleek, and every model looks perfect. Just look at a typical magazine cover, television commercial, or billboard and you’ll see the media has created an ideal image of what females should look like. Big round breasts, a narrow waist, long flowing hair, full pouty lips, tall lean body, and voila! — perfection. We’ve reached a point in society where we idolize that look — then we look at ourselves in the mirror and compare ourselves to those models…

Catch Unilever’s diagnosis of the culprits involved: “the media,” our “point in society,” and, of course, “we,” the mirror-gazers. No profit-seeking, media-sponsoring, mind-implanting corporations involved whatsoever!

But that’s merely the half of it. Turns out, genuine honesty and realism have had the exact same place in this “Campaign for Real Beauty” as they occupy in any other marketing mix — none.

In a story titled “Retouching Ruckus Leaves Dove Flailing,” this week’s issue of Advertising Age reports that Unilever has been caught with its hand on the very photo imaging software it claims to be denouncing and transcending.

Ad Age’s story on the exposure of Unilever’s fraud quotes Pascal Dangin, the “prominent” image re-toucher who clandestinely worked for Unilever. Laurel Collins, the author of a piece of puff reportage in the immensely over-rated The New Yorker magazine relays this fleeting exchange she had with Dangin:

I mentioned the Dove ad campaign that proudly featured lumpier-than-usual “real women” in their undergarments. It turned out that it was a Dangin job. “Do you know how much retouching was on that?” he asked. “But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive.”

So, even in a “real” marketing image, the really real must be carefully selected and re-touched, as always.

Once again, Robert L. Heilbroner: “How strong, deep, or sustaining can be the values of a civilization that generates a ceaseless flow of half-truths and careful deceptions?”

*My guess is that the whole “Campaign for Real Beauty” is actually targeted at middle-aged moms, with the idea being to build brand loyalty to Dove among both moms and daughters by preying upon the moms’ own fear of aging and their desire to mentor their daughters in a vaguely feminist way. “Dove is real!”

Unilever Runs on Lies

Unilever, the multinational mega-corporation that markets the utterly horrendous, unneeded, and wasteful Axe Body Spray, is under attack from feminists and parents. Seems that, at the same time it’s peddling Axe via waves of super-sexist mind-conditioning campaigns targeted at teenage boys, it’s also trying to curry favor with women and girls by running “viral” marketing videos suggesting Unilever favors mass appreciation of “real beauty,” a.k.a. females who are sane enough to found their self-esteem on something more substantial than how closely they resemble the “aspirational” super-models and man-chasing bimbos portrayed in most corporate advertisements and commercial media.

Caught playing it both ways, Unilever made this statement:

The Axe campaign is a spoof of ‘the mating game’ and men’s desire to get noticed by women and not meant to be taken literally.

This is the most howling of lies, the exact diametrical opposite of the truth, which is that Axe’s entire “brand strategy” is to further commodify teenage boys’ self-interpretation by training them to think that using Axe will raise their chances of getting into girls’ (a.k.a. dimwitted vagina-bearers’) pants. By thus worsening the already awful post-feminist, Britney-Lindsay-Paris-and-Hillary Duff ideological climate, Unilever is selling perfume to boys, who would obviously laugh in your face if you tried an honest approach.

Unilever is not unique, of course. Studied, systematic, multi-layered dishonesty is absolutely essential to all big business marketing. If you bother to look, you see that the art and science of is now the rapidly-expanding stock-in-trade of big business marketers everywhere.

Hall of Shame: Axe Body Spray

Capitalism only invented modern marketing in the 1910s, and only began to make it king of the management arts after World War II. In earlier days, the products it sold were mostly common-sense responses to rather obvious natural needs. As corporate capitalism has marched forward from the “marketing revolution” of the 1950s, however, natural needs have receded and laboratory concoctions increasingly rooted in marketing psy-ops have become the new norm.

Exhibit A: “Axe Body Spray,” a perfume sold by the Unilever Corporation and targeted at teen and young adult males. This crap is a naked attempt to fund the bottom line by commodifying young-male insecurities and fantasies about sex. It is as pointless and pathetic a product as ever existed, and one look at the ridiculously large and ridiculously packaged “product line” says all you need to know about the wasted ecological and monetary resources involved:

The Axe Fell Here

For a first-rate commentary on how this appalling junk gets sold and affects youth culture, look at today’s post from The Hater.