Dove: Moving on from the facebook firestorm

Moving on from the firestorm created by the facebook ad in October, how is Dove rebuilding trust with its customers?

Much has been written about the firestorm ignited by Dove’s facebook ad in October.

Dove did not mean to offend people with its facebook ad, but it did. This experience reminds all of us that we do not own our reputation. It’s what other people think that counts.

In the days following the release of the ad, customers felt let down, especially in the US. There was a wider impact too. We know from our own research that opposition to the ad was substantially inflated by non-customers.

As tensions reduce over time, Dove faces the challenge of restoring the strong sense of joy and delight that surrounded the brand before the release of the ad.  With this in mind, we have been analysing how customer emotions have moved on and where Dove is now.

We have divided our data chronologically to identify changes in Dove’s emotional profile before, during and after the week of the facebook ad release.

The During tab shows the maelstrom of emotions that followed the release of the ad, although we need to remember that not everyone who complained was a Dove customer. 

We do know that customers were the main source of expressions of sadness. We also know that customer behaviour changed; expressions of joy and trust from Dove customers were absent in the week after the ad release. Some customers turned to anger and sadness. Many more simply fell silent. 

Switching between the Before and After tabs gives us the best view of Dove’s progress in rebuilding a sense of joy and ultimately trust. Positive emotions are returning but trust is still low.  The fact that not all customers have accepted Dove’s apology can be found in the embers of anger, sadness and disappointment.

Dove’s emotional profile has improved since October but it is still some way below its pre-storm peak. Recreating the same level of success means moving beyond an apology. In 2018 Dove will focus on giving people reasons to celebrate and to trust again.

We’ll keep a check on progress and report back one last time in the New Year.


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