Crisis Case Study(Dove)
I have already done a post regarding Dove and their most (and one of their only) social media crisis. I have always respected them as a brand and I have been trying to keep up with how they handle this situation or what seems to be standing out from them compared to other companies who go through similar issues.
Just a reminder of what I am referring to:
Dove had a campaign with three women of different ethnicities. The video for the campaign showed the girls all taking their tops off and the frame switched from one girl to the next. Their purpose was to show the promoted product was for everyone no matter who they are or where they come from. They wanted to emphasize and use their strong platform to show that even if all their customers have different backgrounds and their skin colors are different, this product is still for them. The screenshot from this video that went viral was the transformation from an African American woman to a white woman.
Dove claims that this screenshot was taken out of context and when you watch the video from start to finish, they were in no way trying to be racist. There were lots of arguments about this and how the order could’ve been changed in light of how our media has been toward race. Many people also claimed that this was insensitive and even though they weren’t trying to offend anyone, they should’ve seen how this would be shown to the public or how people might react. The screenshot shows black to white and so the argument that follows this image is that, are black people supposed to be more white or are they supposed to want to be perceived in this way — as white?
After dove released this campaign and it followed with heavy backlash, they immediately removed the video and ended this campaign. They released a statement of apology on both their twitter and Instagram accounts:
They posted this statement on October 9 which was soon after the video and campaign was made public. This statement did get a lot of acknowledgement and some was more positive than others, as expected.
What is even more interesting about this is that now today, November 14, this is still Dove’s last post on all of their social media. For so long, Dove has maintained such a positive brand image to the public. They have always stood for positive body image for all people of different shapes, sizes and ethnicities. Now with all of their silence, the possibility of their brand image changing is a possibility.
Is silence the right call?
I don’t think that silence is the right call for a situation like this. This isn’t just a small mistake that people are upset about because the Dove team overlooked a portion of their campaign. The public is upset because they see this as an issue bigger than Dove, an issue of race in media today is taken far more seriously and is beyond the brand.
Dove included in their statement that they were re-evaluating their internal processes for creating and approving content. With this a part of the statement, they should have found a way to keep their customers and the rest of the public up to date with what will be done to ensure that this couldn’t happen again. I think the approach they are taking is to be off the grid for a while so people forget what has happened but I also think that this can be misread as not caring or taking it seriously.
If I were apart of the Dove team I would’ve pushed for something to be done after this happened. I think being silent for maybe a week isn’t a bad idea to give the people some time to process and accept the apology. I do think that waiting 6–7 weeks is too long to be silent. An idea I would have would be to make a statement or campaign in support of the NFL protests. In no way would they need to support the action of “taking a knee” but sharing to the public that they support the concept of “Black Lives Matter” and are choosing to express equality for all could’ve helped their case after their latest backlash. The reason I think showing some kind of support for the NFL protest or any specific team is because these were both happening at similar times. This could’ve been a perfect time for Dove to jump on the Black Lives Matter protest and show their feelings about equality.