Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Seth Stevenson: Genius

All sorts of undeserving writers go on to greatness (you know about whom I'm talking), but when will someone give Seth Stevenson the ample rewards he deserves? Stevenson does Slate's ad report card, consistently the magazine's best feature. Today he has a piece on the new Dove campaign. Sample genius:
The [Dove web]site also has a link where you can donate money to Dove's "self-esteem fund" for young girls.

If the women in these ads lacked self-esteem, they wouldn't be up on a billboard in their skivvies. Hey, good for them. I even have a favorite Dove chick: Stacy (the student). She's the one who poses with her backside to the camera, showing off her ample bottom. I see Stacy every day—she's on the bus stop shelter next to my house. "Check out this fiiiiiiiine bedonkadonk," she seems to say to me, grinning slyly over her shoulder. I think I may have a crush on her. But I've said too much already. . . .

The interesting thing here is the risky bet Dove is making. Beauty-product marketing has almost always been aspirational: I wish I could look like her … perhaps if I buy this lip gloss, I will! But Dove takes a wildly different approach:
That chick in the ad sort of looks like me, and yet she seems really happy and confident … perhaps if I buy this Dove Firming Cream, I'll stop hating myself! . . .

But there's a dirty little secret here. Because, in the end, you simply can't sell a beauty product without somehow playing on women's insecurities. If women thought they looked perfect—just the way they are—why would they buy anything?

Out of the park.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, those always catch my eye and they're always well done.

--See Dubya

epinionated2005@gmail.com said...

Concur. Absolutely outstanding piece of work.

Dsrtrosy said...

On the other hand, the guy is a complete moron about women in general and tends to get LOTS of information wrong. I rarely see an Ad Report Card in which Slate has not had to go back in and fix some really simple and stupid mistake the guy has made. As a journalist, he is a poor model.

Greta said...

HE IS AN ABSOLUTE FUCKWIT WITH HIS DICK UP HIS ARSE AND MAKES A LOT OF MONEY BECAUSE THE FUCK WITTED READ HIS SHIT AND BUY HIS PUBLISHED MATERIAL INSIDE SOME PATHETIC PURIENT SHITTY LIITLE MAGAZINE. AMERICAN CULTURE AT IT'S ABSOLUTE BEST.

Anonymous said...

Wtf? What was that about??

Anonymous said...

If Seth Stevenson is a genius, then Jimmy Neutron (the cartoon character) is freaking Albert Einstein. You should broaden your reading a little more if you think that bit you excerpted is so brilliant. Start with something that is actually printed on paper than the cyber-junk this guy calls journalism. The guy has his nose stuck so far in the air that he couldn't even have a decent time at Disney World. I'm sure his idea of fun is spring break in South Padre. As for the Dove campaign, it's not even about how Dove can make you beautiful. It's the marketing team at Dove that's the genius. They sell shampoo, deodorant, soap and lotion, for crying out loud! It's about building brand loyalty by identifying with the everyday woman.

Anonymous said...

"The guy has his nose stuck so far in the air that he couldn't even have a decent time at Disney World."

Heh heh. If Seth reads this, he'll likely chuckle that of all things you chose Disney World as the measure of his taste.