Dove: After the Firestorm

It's been over 18 months since social media was rocked by angry responses to Dove's controversial Facebook ad. The lesson for marketers is not how Dove survived the storm, but how it has carefully rebuilt its relationship with customers and the wider social media audience.

Its been over eighteen months since Dove ignited a firestorm in social media with its controversial Facebook post. When we last looked at social media responses to Dove in early 2018, audience behaviour data indicated that Dove’s customers were returning to the brand slowly. The prevailing sentiment was one of caution. Move the clock forward to today and Dove’s audience are in a better mood, with more expressions of joy and delight and much less mistrust.

The most interesting aspect of the Facebook controversy was never going to be how Dove survived the firestorm at the time –  in such circumstances a brand needs to apologise and mean it.  If there are lessons to learn, they will come from understanding what Dove did next and how the brand rebuilt its relationship with customers and wider social media.

Possibly the thing we admire most about Dove’s actions over the past 18 months is the brand’s continued commitment to campaigning against racism – the very subject which caused all the trouble back in October 2017. Many brands would have walked away and found something new to talk about. Dove didn’t do that, which might be why people are learning to trust Dove again.



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