How not to bottle it - Sonder
Packaging is an incredibly valuable owned media asset. Planned changes to packaging must always pass the 'relevant & appropriate' test.
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How not to bottle it

How not to bottle it

Let’s talk about Dove, because a lot of other people in the UK are right now. And not in a particularly good way. What’s driving all the chatter? Packaging. Or more specifically, the way Dove have made a range of packaging in the shape of different women’s bodies.

Packaging is an incredibly valuable and powerful owned media asset. One that represents many opportunities to leverage beyond the functional aspect. However, there are two words that must be considered when making dramatic changes to any owned media asset. They are – relevance and appropriateness.

How relevant is it to women that Dove bottles are shaped (very) broadly on clichéd body types? Did they expect women to buy the one that most closely resembled their actual body? Or the body shape they aspire to? Will the different packaging options offer any functional benefit? Nope, no benefit. So, where’s the relevance? Short answer, there is none. Longer answer, there is absolutely none whatsoever.

So, what about appropriateness? Well, here’s the clanger from the brand that so masterfully brought us the Real Beauty campaign. Judging by the social media and industry response it’s clear that the new Dove packaging is simply inappropriate. Body shapes and sizes are myriad. Having 6 different pack shapes doesn’t come close to the real nuance of body shape. And besides, isn’t the female form objectified enough in society? A brand like Dove should know better than to physically and literally objectify women even more. There is also a real sense of being sold to here. People’s bullshit filters (technical term from Duke University and topic for another post) are at defcon 2, because they know Unilever are doing all this to sell more product. Authenticity? Lacking.

At Sonder, we’re all for getting more out of packaging, but businesses must always apply the relevant & appropriate test. It’s a great way to improve your chances of innovations hitting their mark and not ‘bottling it’. If Unilever UK had done this, they may have focused on living their Real Beauty commitment in another way rather than compromise all the great work they’ve done through advertising.