Bom-Chicka-Oh-Oh: What Happens When Brand Values Collide?

Women are beautiful from the inside and should never be objectified as sex objects. Except when they are grinding for the produce clerk at their local grocery store.

A consumer group charges that’s what Unilever is saying out of both sides of its mouth with the positioning of its Dove and Axe brands. You can read the entire Los Angeles Times story here. In a nutshell:

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood accuses Unilever of being hypocritical for taking credit for Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty,” while running ads like the one above for Axe.

• A Unilever spokesperson counters: “Each brand effort is tailored to reflect the unique interests and needs of its audience.”

Both arguments are valid. But Unilever is a corporation, not just a collection of disparate brands. Either the company needs to reexamine its branding strategy from a corporate perspective, or consumers have full right to question just how “real” its commitment to “real beauty” is.