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Your balls are more beautiful than you think.
April 27, 2014 4:15 PM   Subscribe


 
Can you handle "My Beauty"?
posted by codswallop at 4:30 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Men don't usually underestimate their balls.
posted by humanfont at 4:31 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


I'm really not sure that lifelike pencil sketches of scrotums are 'SFW'.
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:32 PM on April 27 [10 favorites]


Actual site. Among several objections I might raise to this post, I reject the notion that testicles are capable of seeing themselves.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:33 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


...so some people put a lot of thought into these things??? And here I thought I was kinda weird.
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:36 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Wow, when I went through this phase, it was 10 seconds with a bingo marker. This lady is really going the extra mile.
posted by indubitable at 4:44 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Funny stuff - their reactions are hilarious. Is this really an ad for Dove, or a spoof on the women's ad that they've condoned because why the hell not?
posted by Flashman at 4:55 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Is this really an ad for Dove

The real dove logo doesn't have balls.
posted by aubilenon at 5:00 PM on April 27 [6 favorites]


Those guys are warm and haven't been in the water recently.
posted by vapidave at 5:01 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


My favorite part? At the end, the video provider puts up a notice that says: There are no related videos.
posted by cccorlew at 5:03 PM on April 27 [6 favorites]


What's weird is when your balls get suddenly shrinky and wrinkly and shit for no reason. It's like all of of sudden they're thinking HEY, I THINK I'LL PRETEND TO BE A FREAKIN" PEACH or some such. It's almost, but not quite, like you've got this prehensile tail thing going on, except not really. I'm not sure how women don't spend all their time cracking up.
posted by metagnathous at 5:06 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


Oh, they have their reasons.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:11 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


So...am I the only man left on Earth who has hair on his balls?
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:12 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


What's weird is when your balls get suddenly shrinky and wrinkly and shit for no reason.

My balls never shit for no reason.
posted by aubilenon at 5:20 PM on April 27 [11 favorites]


You're lucky! The anuses on my testes are pooping 24/7. It's like The Frogs "April Fools" up in here.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:23 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


What's weird is when your balls get suddenly shrinky and wrinkly and shit for no reason. It's like all of of sudden they're thinking HEY, I THINK I'LL PRETEND TO BE A FREAKIN" PEACH

Have you ever seen a peach?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:25 PM on April 27 [19 favorites]


peach *pit*
posted by kittensofthenight at 5:33 PM on April 27


um, I don't want to be insensitive to other people's insecurities about their testicles, but is this serious? I mean do men feel this bad about this particular aspect of their private parts that they get teary eyed when they are drawn to look/some one thinks they are a bit less saggy?
posted by bluesky43 at 5:35 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


My balls don't go with the musical accompaniment.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:38 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


So...am I the only man left on Earth who has hair on his balls?

If I forget to shave them for a long while, when I do it looks like I am preparing cousin It for brain surgery. Twice. I just haven't found a good way to trim them. It is shave or have long hair that gets stinky quicker. Now, you may be thinking I sound like one of the guys in the video before he has seen the second sketch of their balls, but I spend a lot of time examining balls and feel I have plenty of perspective.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:39 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!


That's Burns' To A Louse, but really the title To Ma Bawbag works just as well.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:44 PM on April 27 [14 favorites]


um, I don't want to be insensitive to other people's insecurities about their testicles, but is this serious?

Is it serious?!? Videos like these are artistic jewels. It's important to understand the nuts and bolts of this issue before criticizing the video. I mean, there are balls and balls of important social commentary packed into every shot. The creators of this video really left no stones unturned in the male psyche. I mean, it's a testicle to human endurance that men survive what they have to go through every day.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 5:45 PM on April 27 [9 favorites]


This is a parody of a specific Dove ad that came out a couple of years ago. I'd link to it but I'm on my phone.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:45 PM on April 27 [4 favorites]


I was kind of hoping it'd turn out to be a PSA for testicular cancer or something.
posted by desjardins at 5:50 PM on April 27 [4 favorites]


I really wish Dove had the balls to make an ad like this.
posted by rikschell at 5:56 PM on April 27


Dove balls are much smaller.
posted by bongo_x at 5:57 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


I really wish Dove had the balls to make an ad like this.

Someone at Dove really dropped the ball here.
posted by barchan at 6:10 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Those guys are warm and haven't been in the water recently.

OR, they're old.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:11 PM on April 27


This close, they always look like landscape.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:19 PM on April 27 [6 favorites]


Your balls are a wonderland?
posted by bongo_x at 6:22 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


I dunno. My sense of humor is pretty far to the dark & sarcastic end of the spectrum but I try to laugh up not down. This feels too much like "haha, women are so stupid for feeling uncomfortable about their bodies" especially given the insane amounts of money spent making them feel that way. Sometimes you gotta say no to the easy joke.
posted by scalefree at 6:30 PM on April 27 [10 favorites]


I agree with scalefree. For me, this sits on a very short list with the whole "Save the Ta Ta's" thing.
posted by humboldt32 at 6:40 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


With this, the bulk of the effort has been put into mimicking the particular advertising style Dove came up with; the people in the video are treated pretty sincerely, so I feel like this is parodying Dove much more than it's parodying women, if that makes sense. Dove's campaign had a gloss of good intentions, but quite a few people didn't buy into it.
posted by redsparkler at 6:45 PM on April 27 [8 favorites]


>This feels too much like "haha, women are so stupid for feeling uncomfortable about their bodies" especially given the insane amounts of money spent making them feel that way.

Really? That's not what I got at all. I wasn't even certain that it was a joke until I read this thread. It's almost Poe's law-y.

I don't think about my balls all that much, unless I accidentally sit on one or something, but who am I judge what people think about and where they draw their confidence from? Insofar as the current social justice trend is to recognize that everyone has their differences, hangups and peccadilloes and that we shouldn't shame them for that, well...

(And I'm completely checking out my balls tonight. Going to ask my partner to describe them next time I see her too.)
posted by Maugrim at 6:46 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Oooh, this Salon response to Dove was also pretty sharp, and Jezebel said it was "garbage."
posted by redsparkler at 6:49 PM on April 27


I dunno.

hi there!

My sense of humor is pretty far to the dark & sarcastic end of the spectrum

oh cool, mine too!

but I try to laugh up not down.

um ok... dunno what exactly you mean by that.

This feels too much like "haha, women are so stupid for feeling uncomfortable about their bodies"

if that's how it feels to you... I guess that's... your take on it...

especially given the insane amounts of money spent making them feel that way.

people spend money on that? who is "them"? do you even know what the word "insane" means?

Sometimes you gotta say no to the easy joke.

I would love to find an easy joke to say no to. You just made this one a lot more complicated than it needed or was intended to be.
posted by 7segment at 6:51 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Salon (Erin Keane)
>Stop posting that Dove ad: “Real beauty” campaign is not feminist

"Not feminist." Ooooohh, *Snap!*
posted by Maugrim at 6:58 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]



>This feels too much like "haha, women are so stupid for feeling uncomfortable about their bodies" especially given the insane amounts of money spent making them feel that way.


That's not what this is. It's a parody of the Dove ad, which pretends to be this consciousness raising body positive go ladies type thing but is really just another beauty brand telling women that their looks/beauty are the most important thing about themselves.
posted by sweetkid at 6:59 PM on April 27 [16 favorites]




>It's a parody of the Dove ad, which pretends to be this consciousness raising body positive go ladies type thing but is really just another beauty brand telling women that their looks/beauty are the most important thing about themselves.

While I agree with what you've said, is the Dove ad not a step in the right direction? It's a cynical marketing ploy but it *is* different. It could be better but if you, like most people, don't bother to think too hard about it, the message is more positive than most ads.
posted by Maugrim at 7:04 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, what does everybody wash their balls with?
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:22 PM on April 27


Out of curiosity, what does everybody wash their balls with?

One of these.
posted by ryoshu at 7:26 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


Well, Dove and Unilever still sell beauty products, so how meaningful a step the ads can be is pretty debatable. (What is "natural beauty" if you need to buy and apply a bunch of crap to achieve it?) As well, a woman in the original Dove ad being sent up says that, "I should be more grateful of my natural beauty. It impacts the choices in the friends that we make, the jobs we apply for, how we treat our children, it impacts everything. It couldn't be more critical to your happiness." I don't know what "it" meant here - I suspect "it" was something like self-confidence or self-love, but the way it's edited, it sounds like the idea is that "it" is beauty, and that beauty is a woman's principal worth to herself and the world. That is emphatically the same old very wrong direction, whether the beauty is "natural" or not.

I wonder if truth-in-advertising applies to those "viral" ads? This parody certainly illustrates the point you can hire a bunch of actors to say stuff like this convincingly. (No, bluesky43, IME most dudes are much less insecure about their scrotes than about their toenails.)
posted by gingerest at 7:30 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


but I try to laugh up not down.

um ok... dunno what exactly you mean by that.


This is approaching comedy within a power dynamic and deciding it's better to laugh at the powerful than the powerless. Laughing at the powerful, you're a force for positive change. Laughing at the powerless, you're a bully.

How that applies here depends on whether you see this as laughing at women or as laughing at a multi-billion dollar corporation.
posted by RobotHero at 7:35 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I don't really blame Dove here, as it's their job to sell soap and not reframe our culture's beauty ideals or the obsessive focus on women's beauty (and weight, and "youthful appearance" and and). But it was sort of grating to see it passed around as a "so refreshing" type of thing, because it focused on a lot of women who pretty much fit the conventional ideals of beauty and puts a really melodramatic emphasis on women's beauty and what people say about it as the center of their self worth.

So, yeah, it reflects a definite reality while targeting the right market, but it's not progressive or feminist, no.
posted by sweetkid at 7:39 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


>I don't know what "it" meant here - I suspect "it" was something like self-confidence or self-love, but the way it's edited, it sounds like the idea is that "it" is beauty, and that beauty is a woman's principal worth to herself and the world. That is emphatically the same old very wrong direction, whether the beauty is "natural" or not.

"Beauty" means different things to different people especially in this case, where "natural beauty" can be interpreted to mean "be comfortable with who you are and what you look like, you are naturally beautiful."

There are problems with Dove's ads if you dig deep, no question. But that is not the level of thought most people put into advertising. At a superficial level, the Dove ads are generally positive.

Even with the flaws you pointed out, they seem less bad than other ads. And, while that may not be ideal, it's a start.
posted by Maugrim at 7:40 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Dear everybody,

No cosmetic/beauty company wants you to be comfortable with your body. Thats why they exist. 'You want to look better, come buy our stuff.'

Its kinda like how firearm manufacturers are all like "we want you to feel safe...so buy our .44. *we just won't mention that your household is less safe with a gun in it*"
posted by hal_c_on at 7:47 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


That's not what this is. It's a parody of the Dove ad, which pretends to be this consciousness raising body positive go ladies type thing but is really just another beauty brand telling women that their looks/beauty are the most important thing about themselves.

The two are not mutually exclusive. The dove ad can be disingenuous for the reasons you mentioned, and this can also be a reddity asshole jab for the other set of reasons mentioned above.

It's not a zero sum game, how about both of them are crap for different reasons?

I definitely got the bro humor vibe from this, and that it was more making fun of the message of the dove ad in a shitty way rather than making fun of the ad itself, or existing as some kind of high level social commentary on how that ad was actually shilly crap... but i guess that's just like, my opinion.
posted by emptythought at 7:50 PM on April 27 [4 favorites]


As well, a woman in the original Dove ad being sent up says that, "I should be more grateful of my natural beauty. It impacts the choices in the friends that we make, the jobs we apply for, how we treat our children, it impacts everything. It couldn't be more critical to your happiness." I don't know what "it" meant here - I suspect "it" was something like self-confidence or self-love, but the way it's edited, it sounds like the idea is that "it" is beauty, and that beauty is a woman's principal worth to herself and the world. That is emphatically the same old very wrong direction, whether the beauty is "natural" or not.

You're a bit nicer to Dove, than I am. 'It' refers to "natural beauty". Yeah, confidence, self-love, whatever...SHOULD be there, but they're totally putting "natural beauty" there. Thinking about it. they're basically saying "Some people have better friends, better jobs, better kids and better everything...cuz they're better looking."

That happens. And its reality. But I really hate how they're doing this in such an underhanded way. I give more credit to weight loss ads, because at least they aren't trying to hide the fact that they're calling you fat and ugly.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:53 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


>No cosmetic/beauty company wants you to be comfortable with your body.

This is uncharitable and untrue.

Companies want to sell products, but suggesting that every CEO is motivated solely by greed just strikes me as wrong. There are systemic problems (and greedy people) that create less than desirable outcomes in some situations, but i think it's facile to ascribe malevolence to all corporations.

Companies are composed of people, the large majority of whom have decent intentions.
posted by Maugrim at 7:54 PM on April 27


Also, full disclosure: I work for the company that this is parodying. I am not a spokesperson for the company and I am not speaking for the company. My question above was not part of a research effort to find out what you wash your privates with. Your answers are not confidential, as you posted them to MetaFilter.

I often wonder when we break into send-ups of Apple, Microsoft, and other such large companies who likely have employees who read this site what those people think of those companies. I also wonder at what size a company can no longer do any good in the eyes of some. In my past, I've also worked for a different company that routinely gets sent-up in AskMe. I sort of wonder what are the expectations and standards that one expects a company to adhere to, and whether one who criticizes knows to what end most big companies go to these days to.

With that said, I'm all for satire. I'm all for commenting on the social commentary and what an advert misses and hits. But, I fear that as a whole, once we find a place to tear down an effort in the right direction we, as a community, seek to discredit any effort in the right direction. Did the original campaign need to be feminist, and if so - in what way - because there is no one arbiter of what is feminist - I only know that I am definitely not an arbiter on what is feminist. I'd think maybe this belongs in a meta discussion... but - not today. Not by me anyway.


No cosmetic/beauty company wants you to be comfortable with your body.

This is patently false. Everyone I work with, including the Dove marketing team lead, would be totally cool with you being comfortable with your body. You can be comfortable in your body and still wash your body. When you wash your body, we don't even care if you chose a product the company I work for makes... Seriously.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:56 PM on April 27 [4 favorites]


Wow. Tough crowd. I'm clearly a more positive person than I thought.
posted by Maugrim at 7:56 PM on April 27


This is uncharitable and untrue.

Companies want to sell products, but suggesting that every CEO is motivated solely by greed just strikes me as wrong. There are systemic problems (and greedy people) that create less than desirable outcomes in some situations, but i think it's facile to ascribe malevolence to all corporations.

Companies are composed of people, the large majority of whom have decent intentions.


Ok. You're right. Once you start implying "every", you're pretty much wrong. So instead, I'll change my statement:

No cosmetic/beauty company wants 99.44% of cosmetic beauty companies do not want you to be comfortable with your body.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:57 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


is really just another beauty brand telling women that their looks/beauty are the most important thing about themselves.

Exactly. No ad can ever be a step in the right direction because their sole purpose is to manipulate the viewer's emotions so that they will buy products they don't really need. Dove doesn't give a shit about women's insecurities except insofar as they help Dove sell soap. The Dove ad was so evil precisely because the content & framing of the ad enabled it to bypass the BS detectors of so many people who should know better.

Another aspect that wasn't mentioned yet was the men receiving body positivity wisdom from a total stranger (the sketch artist) - obviously bizarre in this context but barely questioned in the Dove ads commentary - why do these women care what some random dude with a sketch pad thinks? The whole ad stunk.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 7:58 PM on April 27


And you're still wrong. Where did I imply "every"?

You are suggesting that this company, a collection of, what, a thousand people?, is motivated solely by greed, at the expense of everything else.

That's not even close to true.
posted by Maugrim at 8:04 PM on April 27


Perfect parody, so much so it's painful to watch. These types of "emotional" adverts are all the rage now and I find them personally vomit inducing.

Out of curiosity, what does everybody wash their balls with?

Soap and water. Soap is currently Irish Spring because it was on sale at Costco, not because I feel I get lots of women watching me lather up outdoors but well, as I said, it was on sale, at Costco, so I have a lot of it.
posted by juiceCake at 8:09 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


Perfect counterpoint to that other thread where that terrible woman was drawing men with the most pitiful-looking testicles!
posted by zscore at 8:14 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


All I see here is a missed opportunity to use the "nevermindthebollocks" tag.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:19 PM on April 27 [8 favorites]


No cosmetic/beauty company wants 99.44% of cosmetic beauty companies do not want you to be comfortable with your body.

Whatever floats.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:33 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


While I agree with what you've said, is the Dove ad not a step in the right direction?

I'm too fucking old for anymore "steps in the right direction" -- particularly when the 80's, 90's, and 00's took so many fucking backward steps.

Change doesn't have to be gradual. Marketing is not a series of "baby steps" where we all just sit around waiting for marketing types to learn to stop being misogynists. You can't win this girl by just being less of an asshole than the next guy. "Sorry about my friend. He can be a real jerk sometimes."

(I miss Bill Hicks.)
posted by vitabellosi at 8:47 PM on April 27 [6 favorites]


Any corporation with shareholders is 100% motivated by greed for profits. Except weird companies like Apple who sit on their profits. I don't know what their deal is but it's probably some kind of greed. Even when corporations "go green" and have codes of conduct and ethics, that's because it's good for the brand and is cheaper than getting sued. Given that the Supreme Court has declared corporations to be entitled to protected speech surely they can also have motivations, especially when they're not very hard to notice.
posted by bleep at 9:01 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


>Marketing is not a series of "baby steps" where we all just sit around waiting for marketing types to learn to stop being misogynists. You can't win this girl by just being less of an asshole than the next guy. "Sorry about my friend. He can be a real jerk sometimes."

Yes. All those misogynists in marketing. To a person, Dove's marketing team has a deep-seated hatred of women.

I've said a few times, at its component level the ad has problems. Most people aren't interpreting it at that level.

It's a generally positive ad. Yes, it emphasizes the importance of (natural) beauty. It's an ad for a beauty products company.

As someone mentioned above, people are trying to be work themselves into a high dudgeon in this thread. Like, working for it 2 minutes of hate-style.

Whatever floats their boats. But I think it's angry, petty and, worst of all, actively retarding making things better.
posted by Maugrim at 9:05 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


confidence, self-love, whatever...SHOULD be there, but they're totally putting "natural beauty" there

I don't see a problem with the term 'natural beauty'. I think it refers to a sort of essential beauty that is exuded only in confidence. If you don't feel good about yourself, your hair, your clothes, your scent, you aren't going to leave the house feeling your best. , I feel this message about 'natural beauty' can speak to anyone, regardless of their basic appearance. It's about how you feel.

I really feel that beauty can come from within. I've seen it in action. Do you know people look best when they're truly happy? Truly at ease? You don't have to be a super model to look stunning in a moment of pure, natural beauty.
posted by Violet Femme at 9:06 PM on April 27


>Any corporation with shareholders is 100% motivated by greed for profits.

Ok, I get it. People think corporations are greed incarnate.

I disagree.
posted by Maugrim at 9:08 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


I think this might be the weirdest Metafilter thread I've ever read.
posted by Poppa Bear at 9:36 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


As someone mentioned above, people are trying to be work themselves into a high dudgeon in this thread. Like, working for it 2 minutes of hate-style.

Whatever floats their boats. But I think it's angry, petty and, worst of all, actively retarding making things better.


The Dove ad doesn't do much for me. I have much more intense negative feelings in response to your notion that I am seeking offense and participating in being brainwashed. It does tickle me a bit, though, that you've apparently missed the irony in using a reference to the propaganda machine in 1984 to defend a huge multinational advertising firm.
posted by gingerest at 9:45 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


Ok, I get it. People think corporations are greed incarnate.

Pretty much, yeah - have you been living under a rock for the last couple decades?? Okay, maybe there are corporations out there that aren't manifestly profit-motivated, but if you're trying to advocate for Dove of all things I think you're (a) playing naive and (b) pissing into a hurricane here.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:51 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


I often wonder when we break into send-ups of Apple, Microsoft, and other such large companies who likely have employees who read this site what those people think of those companies.

I don't think there's anything inherently evil about working for Apple or Microsoft or Dove. But corporations are not people. They cannot be your friend. At best they run by principles that will sometimes make them do things that are not in our best interests. At worst they magnify the power of assholes to do genuinely evil things.

I think it's very important for us not to cut corporations any slack out of respect for the people that work in them. A corporation is a big, powerful, useful, dangerous tool that needs constant supervision to keep it from hurting people.
posted by straight at 10:10 PM on April 27 [11 favorites]


So let me give you a different philosophy: sustainability. Look across the globe and you'll see an increase in usage of raw materials, whether it be copper, silicon or whatever chemical is used to make your beauty product of choice. To mitigate the long term cost of doing business several gigantic businesses tout sustainability. This has at least twofold benefit: one, it means that the business is likely controlling their cost because they are getting involved higher up in the supply chain - the more the product is sourced from a renewable/replenishable source, the more the company can predict the cost of manufacturing for five and ten year plans. The other benefit is yes, you can sit there and tout it in front of the camera as a green message. But most folks take those as the only two benefits and they forget that the source materials are not the only company positive sustainable resource. Customers are also a resource.

You *could* treat customers as one single entity, pool all our money, consider that the prize, and then figure out how to move as much of that money out of the customer's hands and into your own. Believe it or not, that is short sighted. Companies are starting to recognize that you aren't just the sum of your money today, but the sum of all your money you'll ever make - as well the derivative revenue you may provide via second and third generations. Somewhere out of that, your individual value - is absolutely calculated. Technically, from a corporate entity, sum all of your money you've ever made and ever will make across all products you will ever buy and that is what you are worth - in the strictly dollar and sense. Now that sounds cold - but think about it. If I overcharge for a product, that means you have less money to buy more as well as less satisfaction and loyalty because you'll be pissing off your customers. Could I have charged you less and gotten you to purchase two instead of charging more and only having you get one? Would that improve overall performance, and would that help both the customer, the retailer in addition to the manufacturer? So suddenly, what people would believe would be greed is suddenly unhealthy to the long term survivability of the business. So yeah, suddenly that means you've got to have a long term customer strategy. Moreover, in the case with multinational organizations that have over 150,000 employees worldwide, you have to make sure that everyone is on board with these goals - otherwise you can't afford the 150,000 employees - or they take their knowledge to your competitor over the next few years. Any way you slice it, from a corporate perspective - you can't go out and try to pull the wool over someone's eyes. We're past the days of true snake-oil slaesmen, because if you lie - you are fucked.

And then there's market potential: Sure the US has more wealth than a third world nation, but the US market is clouded and full of you and your competitors - meaning that it becomes very hard to improve your bottom line. So, you market in the US and other mature markets in a glitzy manner, and elsewhere you push into new markets. That means, a corporation has a responsibility to improve and expand the quality of life for the people in their new markets. Once again, the goal is to make sure you have people ready to spend their money as quickly as possible, but also with an effort to make sure that they will continue to buy in the future. That means, you partner with these developing markets to help grow your business. Despite this, there is still one more market cap - and this is that not everyone once exposed will buy your products.

So, now - suddenly, if a corporation wants to play for the long game, they do need to make sure that they do more than just play lip service to these legitimate concerns. You've got to make things happen, and you've got to do it in such a manner that shareholders are appeased and you aren't messing your bottom line. This isn't a "poor corporations, their life is hard" sentiment, this is a "make sure that you are on top of this when you make a decision to do something and that you've thought about the downstream implications" sentiment.

I'm totally for oversight. I'm totally for understanding the basic motivation of a company is to make money. For every positive press release I track down, I can probably find an equal if not greater historical error that was shortsighted. But, don't make the mistake and think that the company isn't making an effort - because the effort is actually beneficial to the company as well and companies have started to learn this lesson.
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:31 PM on April 27


>It does tickle me a bit, though, that you've apparently missed the irony in using a reference to the propaganda machine in 1984 to defend a huge multinational advertising firm.

I'm obviously on some sort of alternative wavelength tonight. I'm offering what I feel are some pretty middle ground approaches, but this is the second thread I'm catching flak in.

Anyway, I'm not really defending Dove? Other than to say that I doubt everyone in the company is a greedy bastard who makes decisions entirely on that basis?

And, thank you, I didn't miss the irony. I just disagree that it's ironic because I don't think multinational corporations are equivalent to omnipresent totalitarian governments.
posted by Maugrim at 11:19 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


And you're still wrong. Where did I imply "every"?

You are suggesting that this company, a collection of, what, a thousand people?, is motivated solely by greed, at the expense of everything else.

That's not even close to true.


You didn't imply "every", I implied "every"; thats where I was wrong, because there are always exceptions.

It could be better but if you, like most people, don't bother to think too hard about it, the message is more positive than most ads.

So the corollary of that is: If you actually think about this ad, the message is less positive than most ads.

Yes. All those misogynists in marketing. To a person, Dove's marketing team has a deep-seated hatred of women.

I wouldn't go that far. But I would say that marketers aren't really trying to change an environment, they are trying to APPEAL to it. Thats how you get their dollar.

You've come a long way, baby.

Ok, I get it. People think corporations are greed incarnate.

I disagree.


You're the only one who used the term "greed incarnate". Nobody said that. But you're outta your mind if you think unilever execs were sitting around going "wait...screw the bottom line, you know what we gotta do? We gotta make women feel better about themselves"

Anyway, I'm not really defending Dove? Other than to say that I doubt everyone in the company is a greedy bastard who makes decisions entirely on that basis?

Not every, just the majority of those who can make decisions.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:21 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


I think this might be the weirdest Metafilter thread I've ever read.

i guess you weren't here for Sitters vs Standers then
posted by elizardbits at 11:53 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


I was hoping this thread would be more about balls. Have you ever watched them in action? They are really strange and fascinating.

I understand washing them with Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap is a brisk and refreshing sensation.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:55 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


yeah it is hilarious when they do the thing
posted by elizardbits at 11:58 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


And, thank you, I didn't miss the irony. I just disagree that it's ironic because I don't think multinational corporations are equivalent to omnipresent totalitarian governments.

Nope, you missed my point, which is that propaganda is just advertising, and Ogilvy & Mather is really good at it and pretty much omnipresent (120 countries and counting.)
posted by gingerest at 12:01 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, what does everybody wash their balls with?

Dunno about other people, but I like to keep thing simple. Just steel wool & elbow grease.
posted by aubilenon at 12:10 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]




yeah it is hilarious when they do the thing

And then the ball-haver gets weirded out because why are you staring at his huevos like that. Because he has no idea that the slightest change in the environment sets them swirling like the atmospheres of twin alien worlds.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:20 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]


People wash their balls?
posted by fistynuts at 1:21 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


You can substitue 'balls' for 'butts' in Sir Mixalot's song for some quick and easy entertainment.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:45 AM on April 28


Out of curiosity, what does everybody wash their balls with?

Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap, thankyouverymuch.
posted by Solomon at 1:58 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap is the best for washing all your bits.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:28 AM on April 28


In fact, they could put it right in the ad:

GRANDPA'S PINE TAR SOAP

YOUR BALLS WILL SMELL AMAZING
posted by louche mustachio at 4:30 AM on April 28


To hear someone argue that companies aren't in it for the money is hilarious, The head of the CBI was on radio 4 a few years back and said "companies have a duty under UK law to maximise shareholder profits." Seriously, I know you don't like the company you work for being attacked like this, but they really do have a duty to give as much money to shareholders as possible.
posted by marienbad at 5:13 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Balls are fun! Ever hear of the cremasteric reflex? Light tickling of the inner thigh (by another person) makes 'em dance a bit, if one is neurologically intact. I was shocked to discover how many folks don't know about this; I mentioned it to a group of married medical scribes and none had a clue. It's like a flesh yo-yo.

Testicles, at least in our culture, are not seen in public and are therefore a poor basis for discussion of anything other than one's private self-image. The ad made me laugh but I fail to see how this relates to society's metrics for beauty.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:22 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


lol balls
posted by Fists O'Fury at 5:23 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


what people would believe would be greed is suddenly unhealthy to the long term survivability of the business.....

if a corporation wants to play for the long game, they do need to make sure that they do more than just play lip service to these legitimate concerns.


Which is why banking just keeps getting better and better for consumers!
posted by surplus at 6:21 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Wot, no Buster Gonads?
posted by lagomorphius at 6:25 AM on April 28


This reminds me of my new GP asking how often I did regular testicle examinations to check for lumps and I said "Whenever I am not in public". She didn't blink or say anything for about 2 minutes.
posted by srboisvert at 6:47 AM on April 28 [3 favorites]


I'm kinda ashamed that it took me more than ten seconds to realise that this was parody.
posted by Decani at 8:16 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, what does everybody wash their balls with?

posted by Solomon at 9:58 AM on April 28


Dove unscented soap. My boys deserve the best, and I wouldn't want to interfere with the unfettered pheromonal magnificence of unscented sack. I'm sure the ladies agree. Or they would if any of 'em ever... never mind. Fuck.
posted by Decani at 8:19 AM on April 28


I just disagree that it's ironic because I don't think multinational corporations are equivalent to omnipresent totalitarian governments.

I kind of do and I still think the reactions here are over the top.
posted by bongo_x at 8:31 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


if a corporation wants to play for the long game

I'm not sure this is possible so long as such a significant portion of the people who own companies buy them today in order to sell them tomorrow at a slightly higher price.
posted by straight at 9:06 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


This is hilarious!
posted by adambrady at 9:16 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Might've been more appropriate if the "self" portraits were more huge and the "others" were just normal...but that's me. There really wasn't a marked difference between the photos...not sure what it was getting at.
posted by Chuffy at 10:53 AM on April 28


I'm not sure this is possible so long as such a significant portion of the people who own companies buy them today in order to sell them tomorrow at a slightly higher price.
posted by straight at 12:06 PM on April 28


No one buys or sells a corporation with a Market Cap of $119B. You may buy shares, you may buy the largest interest (still likely not a controlling interest), but nobody can buy a corporation that size. The company may buy and sell brands and parts and divisions in sort of a horse trading scenario, but once again - its a portfolio - not a mom and pop. Heck, you may have a handful of people with significant share, but significant share with a company that size is still likely pretty small. The concept of controlling share would be like Warren buffet liquidating all his other assets and going all in - and even then - with a net worth of only $58B, he wouldn't own half. Corporate governance of a company that size is geared towards diversified risk.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:08 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I'm talking about the extent to which decision-makers for companies are driven by the quarterly share price.
posted by straight at 11:21 AM on April 28


Dove is owned by Unilever. Unilever also markets Fair and Lovely, which is designed to make people of color less colorful. It's a horrible product, with horribly racist advertising. I know they are two different companies, but it's hard to think one is so cool with women being comfortable with their bodies while the other one is trying its hardest to convince women that if only their skin was less dark, everyone would find them more attractive. Oh, and they own Axe, too.
posted by Kokopuff at 12:54 PM on April 28


I remember this time, back when I was working at a magazine in Ann Arbor, when one of the ad reps gave me a long lecture on balls.

My office was the only one on the floor with the conference room and bathroom, so when Dan the Ad Man came out, he could just block my door and pontificate. Dan complained that he was so old that his balls touched the water when he took a shit, and averred that this was the natural progression of ball sagging, that they will all eventually touch the water, and then you won't even be able to have a comfortable shit because your balls will be cold and wet from toilet water.

It's still a terror that haunts me.
posted by klangklangston at 2:06 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]


Kokopuff: Dove is owned by Unilever. Unilever also markets Fair and Lovely, which is designed to make people of color less colorful. It's a horrible product, with horribly racist advertising. I know they are two different companies, but it's hard to think one is so cool with women being comfortable with their bodies while the other one is trying its hardest to convince women that if only their skin was less dark, everyone would find them more attractive. Oh, and they own Axe, too.

It's not hard to reconcile at all, if you simply realize that nothing and no one is ethically, completely good or evil. That's the problem with threads like this one, and the one on Lorde's song Royals. Are there sexist or racist tones present? Perhaps, if you look at it from this angle, or that one; not so much from this more charitable starting point. Were they intentionally mocking women/black people? Perhaps, but also likely not. Is the end result a derogatory view, or propaganda for lessened respect, for a marginalized population? Maybe; maybe not.

But none of those answers is anywhere near as satisfying as deriding a comedy sketch because it can be viewed as misogynist, or labeling a young pop artist as "racist" because of a hit song she wrote when barely out of her teens. "Maybe, maybe not" is about as damning as one can reasonably be here.

Meanwhile, off Metafilter and in the real world... all of us are racists, sexists, and bigots; some are certainly blatantly and unrepentently so; the best of us try, really try, to overcome our worst possible prejudices and reactions, and have done so for so long that we really can't reasonably be described as "hate-mongering" in any particular sense. Some few of us were even so lucky as to be raised in a family and environment that wasn't simply awash in prejudice.

Pointing out that someone else is bigoted doesn't make you a better person. Finding ways to reduce bigotry and its horrible effects on people does. Unfortunately, it's hella harder to do that.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:43 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


I don't have a dog in this fight and feel like the whole notion of Dove's good intentions in the original ad thread are a bit of a derail here, but I feel bad that Nanukthedog's getting a bit of a public stoning on the blue. So, here is perhaps a more accessible notion of the idea that corporations sometimes sacrifice short term gain for long term investment -- media companies.

Movie studios, like other corporations, have to turn a profit and while their happiest future would certainly be one where all films set blockbuster records all the time, they and we realize that this world doesn't exist. Instead, there are massmarket pablum blockbusters that do guarantee a certain ridiculous amount of revenue, but if all you ever produce are predictable iterations on the same formulae, then you'll alienate a large amount of your audience, your critics and those actors, producers, and directors that form the bulk of your freelance employees. Even Channing Tatum would eventually tire of the nth role where he has to play a breakdancing superhero best man at a bachelor party where the zombie apocalypse breaks out.

So studios also create less popular, more sophisticated films, acknowledging that such works may turn a smaller profit or might even flop and wind up costing the studio a bunch of money; but that they would bet that doing so will groom talent and prestige. I don't remember where or to whom the quote is attributed but I've ever heard something like: "Produce 5 movies - 1 by-the-numbers blockbuster that will make you 10s of millions, and 4 risky, low-budget films where you may lose a couple of million. Let the first movie pay for the other four, because one of those four will give you a director, star, or story that will pay off in three more blockbusters down the road."

Similarly, 21st Century Fox is a media organization that produces, just on its TV properties alone: Fox News, Glee, 24, and Cosmos. Are we supposed to expect that Cosmos is now tainted by association? Or that we can expect to see straight up torture porn on Glee? Corporations don't care if it's evil and oppressive or virtuous and holy so long as, in the long run, the combination of what it produces is profitable.

So, yeah, it's fine and hip to be cynical and laugh at people who argue that corporations are anything but sociopathic in their pursuit of the profit motive. But if you can't recognize that corporations do have the capability to prioritize longterm gain over short term profit, that may say more about you than those multinationals that you're railing against.

I mean, we're capable of accusing corporations of all manner of clever, evil shenanigans, but suddenly the concept that they could produce ads that might enable a few customers to (gasp) stop using their products but will also generate enough goodwill and happy feels that it will boost sales and make up for that lost revenue -- that sort of ploy is somehow beyond them because it isn't evil enough or something? Really?
posted by bl1nk at 2:50 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I mean, we're capable of accusing corporations of all manner of clever, evil shenanigans, but suddenly the concept that they could produce ads that might enable a few customers to (gasp) stop using their products but will also generate enough goodwill and happy feels that it will boost sales and make up for that lost revenue -- that sort of ploy is somehow beyond them because it isn't evil enough or something?

Losing 10 customers to make 100 other customers "feel better" so that they'll buy more product? That's not altruism, that's cold calculation.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:41 PM on April 28


Yes, you are quite correct, but neither I nor Nanukthedog ever tried to imply that this was altruistic -- just that the pursuit of profit doesn't preclude the possibility that a corporation's actions could create positive side effects. So I think we're in agreement here.

People give to charity for all manner of reasons that are not purely altruistic. They may want the ego stroke of seeing their name on a donor roll. They may believe that doing so scores them points to be redeemed in some afterlife. They may do it because the charity may have connections that can benefit them. Human self-interest is a messed up and complicated thing, and few of us are genuine saints. At one point does the motivation for the action invalidate the effects?

(though, with all that said, my main objection to the Dove "Real Beauty" ads is still that bit about "beauty is so important because without it you're worthless" that some people have touched on earlier, which I personally attribute to the prevalence of a dysfunctional social norm within the minds of ad copywriters than any specific awareness that Dove could have said something more positive but consciously chosen not to)
posted by bl1nk at 6:21 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, what does everybody wash their balls with?

I think klang's colleague has provided a clue. Apparently once you're old enough, you can do it by just flushing a second time.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:58 PM on April 28


Oh, and Dan was only about 40 when he told me this, a mark I draw ever closer upon.
posted by klangklangston at 9:23 PM on April 28


I will not reveal my source but I am wholly confident that there are men in their 40s whose scrotums do not dangle that much.
posted by gingerest at 11:15 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I was kind of hoping it'd turn out to be a PSA for testicular cancer or something.

Previously.
posted by homunculus at 11:26 PM on April 28


Or that we can expect to see straight up torture porn on Glee?

This would actually make me more inclined to watch it.
posted by desjardins at 8:16 AM on April 29


Pointing out that someone else is bigoted doesn't make you a better person. Finding ways to reduce bigotry and its horrible effects on people does. Unfortunately, it's hella harder to do that.

One of my strategies for making the world a better place is to point out when large profitable corporations are being racist or sexist or whatever. They can handle the criticism.
posted by vitabellosi at 12:17 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


Oh, absolutely, vitabellosi. I'm not saying critizing miscreants is a waste of time. I'm saying that doing it to no effect, simply to feel like you're the judge and not part of the problem, is an ego trip, and little more.

Attack corporate evil. Attack government overreaches, and failures to protect their citizens. Attack celebrity assholes. Attack your neighbor for racist displays, and let him or her know that isn't acceptable in polite society.

But I find moralistic nitpicking - debating whether or not this word in that song makes the artist A Racist - to be an onanistic exercise in one-upmanship. One that Metafilter truly specializes in.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:05 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]


Oh, absolutely, vitabellosi. I'm not saying criticizing miscreants is a waste of time. I'm saying that doing it to no effect, simply to feel like you're the judge and not part of the problem, is an ego trip, and little more.

Well, here's the thing about that.....making your point is the same sort of moralistic nitpicking. We're all swimming in the pool of shit.

I, for one, have a small belief that Dove actually has some twenty-something scanning the internets for all mentions of their name, and they might even see these comments and do some small bit of thinking about their strategy.

But, as Bill Hicks says:

Bill Hicks: By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself.


[audience laughs and claps]

Bill Hicks: Thank you. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root. I don't know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself. Seriously though, if you are, do.

[audience laughs]

Bill Hicks: Aaah, no really, there's no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers, okay? Kill yourself, seriously. You're the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No, no, this is not a joke, you're going, "there's gonna to be a joke coming," there's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself.

[audience claps and whoops]

Bill Hicks: Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going, "he's doing a joke..." there's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend. I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking machinations. Machi... whatever, you know what I mean. I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart."

[audience laughs]

Bill Hicks: Oh man, I am not doing that, you fucking evil scumbags. "Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research. Huge market. He's doing a good thing." Goddammit, I'm not doing that, you scumbags. Quit putting a goddamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet! "Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market. Bill's very bright to do that." God, I'm just caught in a fucking web. "Ooh, the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market. Look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..." God, how do you live like that? I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you?
posted by vitabellosi at 5:25 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


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