Dove "Go Sleeveless" Campaign Says "nearly 100% of women" Find Their Underarms Ugly
was anyone else annoyed over these ads? i found them very insulting.
Deodorant, thankfully, is a popular product in the U.S., but with nearly 100% usage, marketers need to devise new features or grab sales from rivals to see sales growth.
Forget whether they're smelly or dry. The consumer products industry is betting big money on attractive armpits as the next wave of growth, Ellen Byron reports.
Winning over new customers is particularly difficult, however. Some 50% of deodorant buyers reported using the same brand in the last 12 months, and 29% said they tried a new product but didn't switch to it, according to a survey conducted last fall by market-research firm Mintel International.
Enter Unilever and its new angle on selling deodorant to women: A product that claims to make underarms not only odor-free but prettier.
Dove Ultimate Go Sleeveless, which hits U.S. stores this week, claims its formula of specialized moisturizers will give women better-looking underarms in five days. It was inspired by Unilever PLC research that found 93% of women consider their armpits unattractive.
Magazines and talk shows pour out the tips on how women can improve plenty of body parts, from legs to midriffs to fingernails. But little attention — or advice — has been brought to armpits.
"We spoke with over 500 women, and almost every one of them thinks that their underarms are unattractive," says Mike Dwyer, U.S. marketing director for Unilever's deodorant business, including its Dove, Degree and Axe brands. One in three, meanwhile, said they feel more confident when their pits are in good condition, leading Mr. Dwyer to say, "How do we give them that confidence?" The Next Beauty Frontier: Your Armpit
Some 62% of the women surveyed said they suffer underarm skin problems like breakouts, discoloration or itchiness, according to research at Unilever, known as the maker of Lipton Tea, Vaseline, Sunsilk shampoos, Hellmann's mayonnaise and other big brands. Nearly half said they have been embarrassed enough by the condition of their underarms that they have changed clothes.
The Dove line had a 8.5% share of the $2.7 billion U.S. market for antiperspirants in the 52 weeks ended Feb. 19, Unilever says.
Deodorant sales grew 3% last year from a year earlier and 6% from 2007, according to market-research firm SymphonyIRI, whose data don't include sales from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. or club stores. (Excluding those retailers, total sales reached $1.3 billion in 2010, SymphonyIRI says.) Much of the gain is due to higher prices. The average price of deodorant hit $3.36 last year, up 9% since 2007.
The choices are already dizzying. Shoppers are typically choosing from among 300 distinct deodorant products spanning 25 brands or sub-brands, according to data from Spire LLC, which tracks the grocery-shopping habits of 30 million U.S. households.
With nearly all American adults already using deodorant, driving additional sales gains requires giving shoppers new reasons to spend. "If we don't continue to invent products that improve consumers' lives, we'll have trouble growing our business," says Kevin Hochman, a marketing director for Procter & Gamble Co.'s female beauty brands, including Secret deodorant.
This month, P&G introduced a new line called Secret Natural Mineral, which uses calcium carbonate to curb odor. Pointing out a problem that consumers don't necessarily realize they have is a frequently used— but sometimes risky— approach.
"Historically the best marketers have been very astute about pointing out needs that consumers may not have been fully aware they had, be it dandruff, bad breath or body odor," says Jonathan Asher, a senior vice president at consumer-products research firm Perception Research Services International Inc. "People may have accepted a condition partly because no one pointed it out before or there was no remedy available."
Still, it is territory where brands must tread lightly. "Any marketer has to be careful of appearing to create a problem that doesn't really exist," Mr. Asher says. "You can suffer a backlash if you do that."
A print ad for Dove's new deodorant points out that "nearly 100% of women" find their underarms unattractive. In one ad, "Gossip Girl" actress Jessica Szohr posed in a sleeveless shirt with one arm raised. "With Dove, Jessica's ready to bare those beautiful underarms!" the caption reads. (Source - Ellen Byron - WSJ.com) (ad from j-szohr.org)
A bit off topic, but Stephen Colbert did a segment about this on his show and it was funny. Essentially he was making fun of companies for making women feel insecure about things that aren't important. As far as underarms go, I don't know many women who really judge how beautiful their armpits are. I mean, who really looks in the mirror and says, god, I've got to do something about these 'pits of mine?
Make your underarms beautiful with Dove! What's next? Underarm boxtox? Underarm facials? All in the quest for a more beautiful armpit
Who, aside from the women they "surveyed", has ever thought about how attractive their underarms are? Just what we all need, something else that we're supposed to worry about not being beautiful enough.