When Dove first released their “Love Your Curls” video, it quickly went viral. I watched the video and was excited to see an ad that focused on accepting curls and wearing your natural curl pattern — and I can’t lie, I may have teared up a bit. But the skeptic in me was a little confused — why would Dove release this video? I mean, at the end of the day, they sell beauty products and most brands won’t release a video without it being tied to sales. Sure enough, maybe a week later, I started seeing ads for Dove’s new Quench Absolute line, which targets curly hair. Although I expected it, this kind of muddied the meaning of the video for me. While I appreciate “love yourself” campaigns, we wouldn’t really be in search of beauty products if we were all perfect just the way we are.
Random side note: I’d love to know the source of their statistics in the video. But anywho…
Furthermore, I looked up the new Quench Absolute products on the web and the ingredients are nothing special or anything I’d write home about. The line includes silicones, paraffin and fragrance high on the list. Also, their tagline touts the claim, “4x more defined, natural curls.” Wait a second — I thought we were supposed to love our curls just the way they are? Guess not.
I posed the question to my viewers on Facebook, reiterating the fact that at the end of the day, these brands are about making money and their attempts to tug at our heart strings are nothing more than a marketing strategy. In the thread, someone brought up a very good point — they agreed with the marketing strategy, but pointed out that these types of commercials and videos are valuable to increase the self esteem in young girls, not necessarily adults. After all, most children aren’t concerned with marketing strategies and business tactics — all they see is little girls in a video loving their curly hair, the same hair that they have, and that’s wonderful.
But at the same time, I wonder if we place too much responsibility on the beauty industry (an industry that thrives on women’s insecurities) for increasing the self esteem of women and especially children. Do we need these types of marketing tactics when we could be the ones setting an example, letting children know how beautiful they are whilst embracing all types of beauty? If the conversation was already happening, we wouldn’t need masked ads to fuel it. While I don’t fault companies for using these types of strategies, because they are very effective, it seems a little disingenuous to me. Then again, when you see constant natural hair bashing on TV and in the media, we need something to counter the negativity towards natural and curly hair.
Ultimately, instead of waiting for the next brand to hop on the emotional bandwagon, I encourage you all to have your own conversations about beauty and self esteem with your children and friends. That way, we won’t need to depend on the beauty industry or media to do it for us.
Do you talk to your children about self esteem? What do you think of marketing strategies that appeal to your emotions?