Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dove Beauty Bars – Now Backed By Fake Science

Have you seen the Dove beauty bar commercial? Not the real beauty campaign. That’s actually refreshing, where they feature normal, natural, healthy body types instead of Hollywood waifs.

No, this is different. The image above, captured from their television ad, appears to be a woman under a black light or special lens of some sort that can highlight a horrible skin ailment caused by soap. But the caption says it’s actually an artistic dramatization. Of what? Cooties? No, it's "soap scum" left by ordinary soap, while Dove leaves nothing.

So you just painted it on to illustrate? Wow. I guess I could just use Photoshop demonstrating my new miracle tanning product and just pop up an "artistic dramatization...results may vary" caption and I'm golden.

Seriously, if you can only demonstrate this through art and not an actual picture, you’re kind of full of crap and really leaning towards false advertising.

I was intrigued, and of course skeptical, so I spent some time on their web site reviewing the science. You can too: Video Gallery

You can see a lovely demonstration of the science behind soap scum with Dr. Christine Lee, who introduces herself as a PhD chemist who works in product development for the Dove brand. So it’s not independent research, but at least they’re up front about it.

The scientific demonstration: soapy Dove is smeared on a mirror and soapy soap is smeared on another mirror. Then each is spritzed with ordinary tap water from a spray bottle, and the soap leaves more "residue" then Dove.

So if I shower and don’t use my hands to wipe off the lather, I may be left with more residue than if I use Dove.

Dr. Lee even describes soap scum as the combination of soap materials from a “normal” cleansing bar with the calcium ions found in hard water.

So was that normal tap water hard? They didn't say.

I looked up hard water on wikipedia. Hard water doesn’t produce lather when used with soap but can produce white precipitate (scum). So it’s not a total BS claim, but it is "stretchy."

If you have hard water problems, perhaps Dove will do you well. I have no hard water problems, or issues with any of my soaps. I actually use Lever 2000 for all my 2000 body parts, made by Lever Brothers, the same company that makes Dove. I’ve also used Caress, also made by Lever Brothers. They also make Lifebuoy. So how could they in good conscience produce these other products that leave a disgusting film? Probably because the whole campaign really is BS.

I’ve used Dove and it’s quite nice, except I’ve found it dissolves down to nothing much quicker than regular soap. Perhaps Lifebuoy can use that in their campaign.

Me? I’m cheap. I’ll risk the scum.


Jen said...

I think that commercial is kind of creepy myself. Not sure if it really makes me want to buy the product.

Anonymous said...

I just saw that commercial and did a search to see if anyone else was commenting about it. I like their "campaign for real beauty" ads, but this seems to contradict that. They poke at advertisers for creating fake images of women (making them thinner, making their lips fuller, etc. through graphic design tweaking). However, it's okay to create fake soap scum? Tsk tsk, Dove.

Mike said...

Jen - it is creepy!

Anonymous - I agree wholeheartedly with your point of their contradiction.

Thanks to both of you for taking the time to comment!


One Wink at a Time said...

"... kind of full of crap..." lol

I'm a Lever 2000 person myself. But only because Bath & Body Works stopped selling their Gentle Glycerin soaps, namely Moonlight Path and Cotton Blossom flavors.

I wonder how the Dove stands up against good old 99.9% pure Ivory?

Doesn't it irritate you when you respond to your comments and then a straggler like me comes along and leaves a stray comment??? Be honest ;-)

Mike said...

Don't mind at all. You're keeping the blogs alive! Sometimes comments come a year later.

I may have actually been thinking of Ivory melting to nothing flat vs. Dove. :-)

Cindy said...
Just posted your blog post to the above Facebook group - Dove Commercials - True or False.
Can I use the picture, pretty please?

Mike said...

Hi Cindy. Absolutely! It's just a screen capture of their commercial.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but this is just a dove smear campaign. You're just another ignorant individual who needs to be shown things through artistic illustration because explaining it to your feeble mind wouldn't be enough. I've done the soap scum test and compared it with two other types of soap also made by Unilever. Guess what, dove has no soap scum. So stop with the Dove hate because you're not really complaining about the product you're complaining about the ad campaign. If you look at any ad campaign you'll find fault there as well, if not even more to rag on about, so shush.