There are two ways the makers of male-oriented personal care and beauty products market their goods to consumers:
First, there’s the Axe Effect. It’s the highly persuasive method of playing on average everyday man’s insecurities about unbelievably attractive women, advertising unrealistic beauty ideals, copious amounts of skin and sex appeal, and the importance of getting a lot of action. Second, there’s the Platonic Ideal of the American Male. He’s a stand-up, down-to-earth, man with a rags to riches story, a work ethic the size of Paul Bunyan, a devotion to family with which the religious could find no fault, and happens to care a lot about skincare.
Dove, a beauty brand that ostensibly fights against superficial stereotypes and campaigns for real beauty, does not employ the Axe Effect. In it’s online ad campaign for the new Men+Care product line (Get it? Like skincare but for men who care!), Dove hopes to increase its market share among American males with a web series featuring real men who are comfortable in their own skin. St. Louis Cardinals superstar, Albert Pujols, New York Yankees ace, Andy Pettitte, and Yankees skipper, Joe Girardi all share their “Journey to Comfort.”
In the online Dove Men+Care campaign, the baseball stars tell mini-autobiographies to the camera, while old photographs and home movies paint an idealized picture of their successful life stories. The content certainly isn’t as entertaining as a soap opera peppered with celebrity athletes, but will it sell soap?
For a brand that puts a strong emphasis on moral responsibility and doesn’t target a young adult demo, it’s hard to create viral hits. Dove’s honest appeal to the everyman will certainly get less online views than it’s highly sexualized counterparts, though maybe, for this particular online video campaign and for this particular brand, the message matters more than the numbers.