Case Study

Conflict of Interests

Branding is about reputation. A brand develops over time, and needs to be trusted, preferably honest. A brand, like a person, is trusted when it has opinions and sticks to them. That doesn’t mean that opinions can’t change over time, just that a brand can’t speak out of both sides of its mouth, like Unilever.

Unilever is a behemoth of a brand, with a wide selection of sub brands hiding underneath its umbrella:

The two sub brands I’m currently irked by is Axe (top left in the above picture) and Dove (top right corner).

These two brands are very well know for their edgy advertising, but both in their own ways. The issue is that these two brands have very different messages, and make Unilever rather two-faced.

Dove is known internationally for positioning itself against the beauty industry and for the confidence of women, seen in this film of theirs below:

This hard-hitting short film should convince women that Dove is on their side, right? Unfortunately, Unilever also owns Axe, a brand that constantly objectifies women in its ads:

Or this ad that literally uses the woman solely for her breasts:

With such opposing views on women, how is a customer supposed to trust Unilever?

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