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Anti-Age or Pro-Age: Dove Shifts the Conversation

| On 04, Sep 2007

Lynda Curtin

Anti-Age: a popular slogan many in the beauty industry use to promote skin care products and treatments.  But, hopefully not for much longer … thanks to Dove’s new campaign, “beauty has no age limit” promoting their new line of products.


I share this example with you because I see in action an effective innovation technique for idea generation, reversal provocation – going in the opposite direction of what is usual – in this case, “the market”, demonstrated in Dove’s campaign as follows:


1. Shifting the emphasis from anti-age to pro-age.
2. Shifting the view “beauty has an age limit” to “beauty has no age limit”.
3. By featuring “real” older women instead of younger thin models.


Many in the industry would consider each of the above to be a gutsy decision. Dove made three. Innovation requires gutsy, doesn’t it?


Let me be clear here. A provocation for the sake of a provocation won’t do the job. Each of the above provocations also presents benefits which the target customer understands and appreciates. And, Dove’s innovative campaign also attracted Oprah’s attention which resulted in an Oprah show featuring the models – great priceless publicity. The stars aligned.


Dove’s new trademarked term, “pro-age”, is also easy to understand by the consumer, a key ingredient to successfully promote new innovations. I believe the term “pro-age” will be welcomed by a major segment of the market – aging women over 50, and, Dove owns the term. Imagine the impact this will have on Dove’s business as the trend to cater to “older” consumers picks up speed in the market. 


Innovation is hard work. We all know that. Sometimes we forget an important piece of the innovation puzzle – how are we going to communicate our new message?