The Armpit of America ad in the Great Outdoors about Dove’s Advanced Care Nutrition Moisture Deodorant seriously offended the sensibilities of quite a few New Jersey residents. In the larger-than-life billboard advert, a young lady in a tank top is shown exposing one armpit.
The caption beneath this says “When people call you “The Armpit of America” take it as a compliment!” Afterwards several locals went ahead to air their grievance on Dove’s Facebook home page. One of them said that she would never buy any item from Dove again.
"Dear Dove, I was born and raised in NJ and will no longer be using your products. Take it as a compliment," states Katherine Elizabeth.
Similar sentiments were written by another resident who was shocked over how the people at Unilever could even think of saying such a thing. Later on, under intense pressure from consumers, the Dove team decided to take off the repulsive ads from the billboards.
The fact that New Jersey is not a very posh or modernized area of America doesn’t mean that the people of this region don’t have any self-respect. Many of them were very angry over the perceived threat to their identity as proud citizens of a state which was like any other locus of jurisdiction of the United States.
To discriminate and show prejudicial bigotry of the sort shown by Dove was beyond tolerance in today’s egalitarian world. However, there were several people who also took the matter lightly and thought of the ad as a witty joke.
Matthew McCarthy, the senior marketing director of antiperspirants and deodorants at Unilever, said, “I don’t expect that there will be a lot of people who misunderstand, but to the degree that they do, we’ll be open about what we’re really trying to say. The message that we want to get out there is that the armpit is not a bad thing, and that we stand for caring for the armpit.”
It was essentially about female armpits being a natural part of the body beautiful. The problem was created for the solution in this case though. Healthy women were made to feel bad about their armpit odor and then introduced to the deodorant.
Thus, Dove was playing the old need-creation card that was a favorite of advertisers everywhere. The officials at Dove however insist that the ad was merely a ploy to make females feel comfortable about their armpits which are a natural part of their feminine pulchritude.
“Women don’t really see the skin of their underarms like the skin on the rest of their body,” Mr. McCarthy said. “When they think about their underarms, they think mostly about odor and wetness.”
Watch below the Dove's TV commercial called “An open letter to the armpit”.