Good brand or bad brand?

The medical center that I intern at has a great reputation. It has an established brand which members of the community love. We met last week to discuss a new advertising campaign and ideas were thrown out while we brainstormed. We were unsure whether we wanted to stick close to the traditional style that we have typically done most frequently or try something new and flashy. The problem that we encountered was that sometimes flashy can give off a bad vibe and offend our target audience. (Especially in this healthcare reform period) We have discussed in our JMC 417 class that there is good and bad public relations and that sometimes bad public relations can help reach a company’s goal. But where is the fine line between triggering someone’s curiosity and just turning them off?

Companies spend years trying to build a brand that is reputable; yet one mistake can ruin all the years’ worth of work and take what seems like centuries of time to fix.

While I was researching on ideas for our new campaign I stumbled upon Dove’s campaign for real beauty. Everyone watched the commercials see here an example: and fell in love with the idea of inner beauty… A company that would show beauty in all of its variations…little did people know what really happened behind the scene on some of the photography used in the advertising campaign. A freelance photography retoucher, working for a photographer, working for an ad agency, working for Unilever, Dover’s owner, told a journalist of the New Yorker magazine that he’d retouched some of Dove’s photographs of ordinary women used in their successful campaign. This comment according to the New Yorker was not taken out of context. It had the ability to create extreme damage. However, because Dove took the right steps, it has not suffered extreme loss. The question is what were Dove’s intentions when launching this campaign? Do they truly believe in advocating real beauty or was this just launched to make profit? After reading some background information it is hard to believe that a company so large across the world would do something moral without having immoral reasoning.

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4 Responses to Good brand or bad brand?

  1. tburns says:

    As I said with CSR, sincerity needs to be present in everything a company does. Coming up with a new branding campaign that the company will not stick with through and through makes the effort almost pointles, because, typically, customers/stakeholders will eventually find out and then there will be a crisis or mishap for the company to deal with. I do understand that profits are necessary to keep a company alive. However, the way people go about business needs to focus more on relationships than it used to in the past as people are starting to trust their peers more than authority.

  2. acarlin says:

    I think Dove’s intentions were initially good when planning and executing this campaign. It received mixed reviews, both from people who supported it and from people who thought it was repulsive. I definitely agree that if a company lacks sincerity in anything they do, their customers will eventually find out. No matter how successful a campaign is, information will leak that they weren’t sincere in their actions. If the photos of the “real” women were in fact digitally fixed, then it was only a matter of time until people found this out.

  3. alevy says:

    I believe Dove’s intentions were also initially good when they launched this campaign. I believe they wanted to transcend the image of “perfect “and send the message that in order to be beautiful, you don’t need to look like a model and/or be stick thin. However, after this information about digitally fixing and enhancing images was revealed, it clearly showed that the campaign/advertisements were hypocritical and maybe their intentions were not as they seemed. As the previous comments mentioned, sincerity and commitment to an idea/message is vital for any company to uphold. In addition, it is so easy to distribute and retain information nowadays, that if a company does do something dishonest and/or insincere, customers will eventually find out. This can furthermore create a bad reputation for a brand and ruin relationships with loyal consumers. From a PR perspective, Dove is definitely lucky they did not suffer extreme loss due to the freelance photographer’s comment, but it is possible if Dove did not take the right steps to maintain their brand, all success could have been crushed by this mistake.

    Also, do we know why this photographer told the journalist of the New Yorker this information. I was curious because what if he was the one looking to profit with this information?

  4. srugeris says:

    Benjamin Franklin was right when he once said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to loose it”. However, this comment by the New Yorker seemed vague and fueled by half-truths to try and create a story out of something that is blown out of proportion. All too often journalists attack those in the PR field and play at the credibility of others by labeling practitioners spin-doctors.

    I side with alevy in my opinion that both the photographer and the journalist may have had motives of self-interest when they cooperated to attack this reputable Dove movement. Edelman PR did an excellent job of responding to and refuting the allegations in a timely manner and the explanation that was provided clearly shines light on the fact that The New Yorker incorrectly implies that the images were retouched in connection with the Dove “real woman” ad. The link to the explanation can be found here .

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