"Onslaught," created by Ogilvy & Mather, opens with a young girl staring into the camera. She's smiling a little -- looking trusting and impressionable. Her stare disappears as we see a dizzying montage of the advertising messages she'll see in years to come, and the behaviors she may adopt to conform.
We see models on billboards, scantily clad dancers shaking, skincare ads promising transformation, diet pill infomercials, women getting plastic surgery. Amid the violent succession, we see a woman standing on a scale; her body shrinks to skin in bones -- a bulimic heaves into a toilet -- then her body grows overweight and shrinks again.
As several young girls walk in slow motion across the screen, the message reads:
"Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does."
Although the message here is both beautiful and powerful (and the ad idea pretty brilliant), one can't help noticing the irony. As you'll note from the image embedded in this post, Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" is double-edged. The image shows a "normal-looking" woman -- someone who might buy the product being advertised: firming lotion. Whether you show a stick-thin model or an average-sized woman to sell firming cream, you're still selling a beauty product. Perhaps the difference is that Dove redefines the end result.