The power of the patch

Browsing through my emails this evening, my eye was drawn to a press release from Unilever Arabia about Dove’s new social experiment involving women not happy with how they look.

I don’t know why I felt compelled to watch the YouTube video (Dove’s latest attempt at a viral video), but I dutifully clicked on the link (here) – no doubt trying to put off the inevitable ruckus that dinnertime brings in our household.

In the commercial, the women are given ‘beauty patches’ to wear for two weeks. They aren’t told what’s inside the RB-X patch, merely that it’s supposed to enhance the way they see their own beauty.

"Kids, it says right here in the recipe, 'This dish contains no yucky stuff'"
“Kids, it says right here in the recipe, ‘This dish contains no yucky stuff'”

Now, I’m all for the power of a sticker. After Son2 had a particularly bad day at school the other week and had to be picked up from the principal’s office, no one was happier than me when, the next day, he emerged from the classroom wearing not one, but two, smiley stickers – awarded for good behaviour.

But as I watched the video, I found myself thinking seriously? I mean, really? The psychologist reveals at the end that the patches are fake. Yet they’ve had quite an impact on the women, who tell the camera that the patches have made them feel great, want to show off their arms and smile at people and go dress-shopping.

After the revelation that there’s nothing inside, you see the women giggle. And then cry. [Cue faint music and a clip of another woman revelling in her new-found self-esteem.]

Never mind empowering them, it just made them look gullible, in my opinion.

But it did get me thinking. A patch that stops my skin bristling and allows me to say no calmly every time my children dislike the dinner I’ve cooked and demand cereal. Yes, please!

4 thoughts on “The power of the patch

  1. I liked that “real women” campaign Dove ran a couple of years (or was it 10) ago, but all that Dove talk about loving yourself the way you are just doesn’t sound very credible, when you know that Unilever also makes and markets other brands, such as Fair & Lovely (“you’ll only be able to love yourself and find Prince Charming if you have white skin”)…

  2. Hmmm…I think I am too much of a cynic for that to work on me, so I think I’d be agreeing with you on that one. I do give kudos to Dove for (sort of) trying to encourage women to embrace themselves, but the commenter above is correct: they are speaking out of both sides of their mouth. And about that sticker you were wondering about: I think many adults use wine (or Xanax) to get the same results…..

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