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Lowdown: Dove's Recent Real Beauty Fail Was Kind of a Win

Published on .

The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.

Dove: Real Beauty Bottles
Dove: Real Beauty Bottles Credit: Dove

A lesson from the latest Real Beauty advertising: Social-media failure doesn't always translate into real failure. Ogilvy & Mather, London, tried making different shapes of Dove bottles that reflect women's different body types and posting images in social media. That led to widespread mockery, reported, among others, by The Guardian, which asked if Unilever can "repair the damage?" But a May 9-11 survey of more than 2,200 Americans by Morning Consult suggests none occurred. It found 41% of people came away with a more favorable view of Dove after seeing the campaign images vs. 9% who were less favorable. The survey also found 71% said they were likely to purchase Dove products, up 3 points from before seeing the campaign.

Liquid-Plumr: once more into the breach
The brand that once brought you bawdy pipe-snaking double entendre and melon metaphors has shifted to butt cracks. In the first campaign for the brand from FCB since it was appointed last year, Clorox Co.'s Liquid-Plumr shows there's "a little plumber in all of us." Specifically, that's the exposed crack. It's part of a multi-media effort that includes TV, digital and in-store (no butt cracks there, sadly, but there are package neck hangers and stickers encouraging people to be their own plumbers, said Tiffany Leung, associate brand director.)

Axe tackles 'toxic masculinity'
Axe is battling what global brand VP Rik Strubel calls "toxic masculinity" in a new effort from 72andSunny that encourages guys to "ask the internet" whether It's OK for men to wear pink, not like sports or shave their chests. The Unilever brand doesn't pretend to have any answers just yet, but is developing content it hopes ultimately will rise to the top of search results when guys ask more sensitive questions, said Carlo Cavallone, exec creative director of 72andSunny. Of course, some would accuse Axe of offering a solution to a problem it had a hand in creating, having done its part to foster toxicity with years of girl-chases-guy humor. But Strubel says surveys find brand perception scores are rising amid Axe's evolved "Find Your Magic" view of masculinity the past year, and so are sales.

Sobering news from the nation's capital
There were plenty of reasons for people in Washington, D.C. to belly up to the bar last year to either celebrate or drown their post-election sorrows over the election of Donald Trump. But when it comes to beer consumption, the nation's capital fell flat in 2016 with volume dropping 6.9% -- more than any other state -- according to a new report from Susquehanna Financial Group. Perhaps politicos went straight to whiskey? President Trump, of course, does not drink. But his press secretary, Sean Spicer, has a connection to the beer industry. He is married to Rebecca Spicer, chief communications officer for the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Georgia led all states with 3.3% beer volume growth, followed by Idaho (+3.2%), and Alabama (+2.9%), according to the report. After D.C., beer lost significant ground in Wyoming (-5.6%), Alaska (-4.7%), North Dakota (-4.5%), and New Mexico (-4.4%).

Arial, Times New Roman … or YouTube Sans?

YouTube Sans
YouTube Sans Credit: Saffron

You won't find it in Google Docs by default, but YouTube now has its own proprietary font. The typeface, dubbed YouTube Sans, was developed in collaboration with Saffron, which has worked with brands like Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs and Lloyds of London. Saffron said it redrew the iconic YouTube "Play Button" before creating a new font, all to make sure aesthetics were "perfect." A font family is composed of "glyphs" -- in this case YouTube's Play Button -- and share similar design features with the typeface, or font. YouTube Sans made its first public appearance during YouTube TV's launch event in Los Angeles last month, but news of its release was only recently announced. The world's largest video streaming platform previously used "Roboto" as its font. Alfredo Fraile, managing director of North and Latin Americas at Saffron, said: "This was part of a project to develop a unique and identifiable visual language for YouTube TV in a crowded market of online TV streaming options."

Lucky Charms goes marshmallow-only

Marshmallow-only Lucky Charms
Marshmallow-only Lucky Charms Credit: General Mills

Cavity alert: New boxes of Lucky Charms have codes inside, and certain winning codes are redeemable for 10,000 boxes of marshmallow-only Lucky Charms. Lucky Charms gave away marshmallow-only boxes in 2015. But back then, only 10 such boxes were awarded through a social media campaign. And the brand says many people were disappointed they didn't win. Meanwhile, another General Mills cereal announced packaging news of its own: golfer Jordan Spieth was named the newest athlete to appear on the Wheaties box. Both efforts could help General Mills spur some interest in its brands, as cereal remains in a slump, though appears to be improving. The company's U.S. cereal sales fell 1% in the recent fiscal third quarter, an improvement from 3% and 4% declines in the second and first quarters, respectively.

Smooth move: eos boosts its balm
Eos, best known for its lip balm in tubes shaped like tiny eggs, is adding some marketing behind its shave cream in a new digital and social-media campaign from TBWA. The brand, an acronym for Evolution of Smooth, tries various takes on just how much leg shaving is required based on the relationship status. It's also meant to point out that Eos uses a pump, not an aerosol, a cream rather than dehydrating soap, and plastic rather than metal cans that leave rust rings on the tub.

McDelivery expands
It's getting easier to get a Big Mac and fries from the comfort of your couch. McDonald's and UberEATS expanded their partnership, with delivery now available from more than 1,000 of the fast feeder's 14,000 or so U.S. locations through the UberEATS app. Now, 267 restaurants in and around Chicago, 59 in Columbus, 300 in Los Angeles, and 144 in Phoenix can handle UberEATS delivery, with unnamed markets to follow. That's on top of the 200+ or so that began pilot testing the program in January in Miami, Orlando and Tampa Bay. The convenience, of course, comes at a cost. In most cities there's a $4.99 "booking fee" attached to the entire order, though the amount varies. If delivery catches on in the U.S., it could lead to big gains for McDonald's. In 2016, there were nearly $1 billion in delivery sales worldwide from McDonald's restaurants. In Asia and the Middle East, its most developed delivery markets, top delivery restaurants get up to 40% of their sales from delivery orders.

Insect invasion
Look out for the creepy crawlies at Target and Tesco this summer. The retailers will begin selling exclusive products from Beat Bugs, the popular animated kids series set to Beatles tunes on Netflix, as part of a licensing agreement with Centa IP, a licensing company, and Grace, the film company behind the show.

P&G beauty boss moves to Ralph Lauren
Procter & Gamble Co. Group President-Global Beauty Patrice Louvet has been named CEO of Ralph Lauren, effective July 17. He's leaving P&G effective June 30, the company said, but didn't immediately respond to queries about how his post will be filled. P&G spun off much of its beauty business – including CoverGirl, prestige fragrance, hair colorants and salon products – to Coty earlier this year. Louvet joins a long line of P&G-bred CEOs, including Estee Lauder's Fabrizio Freda and Unilever's Paul Polman

Contributing: Jack Neff, Jessica Wohl, Adrianne Pasquarelli, E.J. Schultz, George Slefo

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