Advertisement Analysis: Dove’s “Onslaught” Commercial
Dove’s “Onslaught” commercial is at first a startling and relevant call to arms against the beauty industry, and the impact it has on young girls. Upon further inspection, however, it is something much more sinister.
The market for this advertisement is parents. While it features a young girl, it is her impressionable mind that is the point of Dove’s argument. Dove is trying to make a moral argument. Telling people that there is nothing moral about letting the entertainment and cosmetic industry dictate beauty. There point is that hundreds of diets, pills, exercise routines, and plastic surgeries exist, and that they are out of control. There interest is in money and the way they get it is by manipulating beauty standards.
The title “Onslaught” describes the artistic decisions made in the ad. It starts by showing us the face of a young girl. An eye line match reveals what she is looking at. The new shot brings on an accelerating onslaught of beauty commercials, music videos, dieting solutions, and so forth. The onslaught ends with increasingly more gruesome images of surgery and rapid weight gain and loss. The advertisement cleverly returns to the image of the young girl to remind the audience who the victims of these advertisements are. By starting with a cute image then quickly progressing to the grotesque, Dove creates a very effective pace and tone.
The ethical implications, while they may seem sound at first, are actually much more confusing. If the advertisement had been done by an organization of mothers, it could be seen more as the call to arms that it seems to be. However, Dove is in the beauty industry. They are one of the largest players. There stakes in what people think of as beautiful are very high. They are also trying to sell products that make your skin softer, glow brighter, and look years younger. It could easily be argued that while many advertisements aim at small children, Dove is merely manipulating beauty through a different audience, their parents. All of this does not fully incriminate Dove, but it does put the commercial in a different light. It also requires that the audience be much more skeptical of what the ad is saying.