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Dove is known for promoting body positivity through clever and often very moving ad campaigns. But Dove's latest product line in the United Kingdom is leaving a lot of people scratching their heads.
Dove U.K. recently announced a new, limited edition range of body washes, with one very unusual feature: the six bottles in the collection are shaped like different women’s body types. The idea is to remind women that beauty can take many forms.
“From curvaceous to slender, tall to petite, and whatever your skin color, shoe size or hair type, beauty comes in a million different shapes and sizes,” Dove U.K. wrote on their website. “Our six exclusive bottle designs represent this diversity: just like women, we wanted to show that our iconic bottle can come in all shapes and sizes, too.”
This latest chapter in Dove’s #RealBeauty campaign has sparked plenty of reactions.
"I genuinely thought the bottles were an April Fool's joke," said Sarah Benson, a London-based brand strategist, in an email to TODAY Style.
She thinks the bottles could ultimately do more harm than good.
"This is a naval-gazing marketing exercise that patronizes women rather than celebrates them," she said. "The shapes invite shoppers to judge themselves against what others look like, which surely increases the sense of feeling different rather than acceptance."
Meanwhile, reactions on social media have ranged from bemused to offended.
One woman on Twitter pointed out that Dove’s new bottles don't exactly reflect real women's bodies.
“I have arms,” she joked. “Please advise.”
Others argued that Dove shouldn’t place so much emphasis on body shape.
“This is so awful,” wrote one Twitter user. “So you can contemplate how far outside the ideal your body is even in the shower.”
But above all, people teased Dove U.K. mercilessly about the latest campaign, hinting that the brand had taken its body positive message one step too far.
It’s unclear whether the new bottles will hit shelves in the U.S. anytime soon. In the meantime, our standard Dove body wash is working just fine!