Tag Archives: Dove

Ralph Lauren, the 80s called, they want their ad back

Here’s a recent ad for Ralph Lauren’s fragrance Polo.

It’s a cultural antique. This is what advertising used to look like when designed to flatter male egos and sell goods that were designed to flatter male egos in a cultural moment designed to flatter male egos. These days, its “Really? Get over yourself.”

Ralph Lauren has not been superbly in touch with the cultural moment. (Not since the 1980s when he helped define the cultural movement.) But this is really egregiously out of touch. I guess he doesn’t have a Chief Culture Officer.

What looks and feels more contemporary?  Have a look at this Fitbit ad.

The difference?

It’s not about one person.  It’s about lots and lots of people.

It’s not about young males. It’s about a variety of people.  Because some years ago, advertising and branding learned it had to let in everyone, not just the Young and Beautiful…and Male.  Who gets the credit here?  Sylvia Lagnado and Dove? Who else?

And it’s not about someone with that terrible look of self congratulation, that overweening red speedboat of an ego.

It’s not about speedboats but the diversity of ways people have found to entertain and exert themselves. This is plenitude in action.

Yes, this ad is an exercise in diversity because the Fitbit is designed to capture data generate by any activity. But notice the tone, the reckless, frenetic charm of this spot. It’s not about anyone’s ego. There are no beautiful people here. No celebrities. It’s a “Here Comes Everybody” exercise, to use Shirky’s phrase. There are a variety of deep cultural reasons why diversity is so important when crafting cultural meanings.

We are on the verge of a season that shows a relentless stream of James Bond movies, and with each season, Bond looks a little stranger, a man so besotted with himself that it’s hard to imagine rooting for him.  How do we identify with a monster of vanity? Those days have passed. This is where you are, Mr. Lauren, on the wrong side of history.

Silvia Lagnado: reluctant CCO

This just in:

Silvia Lagnado has been appointed the CMO at Bacardi.  

This is good news for those of us who care about corporations that care about culture.

Lagnado is the woman responsible for the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, the woman who found a way to make an ancient brand responsive to new ideas of beauty and body (as above).

I wrote her up in Chief Culture Officer.  I was grateful to have such a great case in point. And a Canadian no less.  I tried to get in touch to interview her.  Well, really, I just wanted to bask in her reflected glory for a moment.  

But no go.  I heard nothing back.

I figured it was just me.  Lots of people don’t write back.  (You know who you are.)  And then I heard from a friend who is a big sneeze in an institution that’s a big sneeze and he said that he too had reached out without effect.

If two data points are enough (for an anthropologist, they are of course one more than necessary), we might argue a pattern here.  A woman who had done something remarkable, nay, revolutionary, was refusing the effects, the outcomes of her new celebrity.  

So, I thought to myself, perhaps there is something retiring about this woman, perhaps she is the reluctant CCO.  Clearly not.  If she has signed up to be CMO at Bacardi, she is anything but reluctant.  

Let’s stay tuned for great things.  


Malykhina, Elena.  2010.  Bacadi Taps Unilever Vet as CMO.  Brandweek.  May 26th. here.