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How Dove and Axe Got Into Alignment, and Why They Still Need Digital Specialists
By: AdAge
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For Keith Weed, advertising that takes progressive stances on gender issues is like spinner luggage: It makes perfect sense when you see it, but took far too long to happen.

The chief marketing and communications officer of Unilever is pushing to eliminate stereotypes from the company's ads, but admits even some of his biggest brands have some heavy baggage on the issue. "Did Axe have stereotypical men and women?" he said. "Yes it did."

In an interview with Advertising Age following his presentation at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Mr. Weed talked about why Unilever is out to end gender bias in ads. He also outlined a new digital marketing training program for everyone from CEO Paul Polman on down, and why he still sees a need for digital specialists on brands in spite of it. He bemoaned the relative lack of creative quality in mobile advertising and said that while Unilever has made strides on such issues as viewability and ad fraud, he still sees plenty of room for improvement.

Dove and Axe in Alignment
Unilever's brother sun and sister moon of brands were for years out of alignment on gender issues. Dove has had 12 years of ads trying to defy stereotypes about women's beauty. But Axe until fairly recently played on stereotypes about randy men chased by hot women rendered mindless by enticing fragrances. Company marketers explained the contradiction by noting that both brands were just trying to boost confidence of their users.


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This was originally published on AdAge. A link to the original story follows this post. www.adage.com
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