What makes personal marketing work? Why are Dove and Axe so successful at it?

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Personal marketing, at its core, works by building a relationship between the consumer and the brand through targeted strategies that connect on a personal or emotional level Dove and AXE are two brands under the parent company Unilever a they have excelled in personal marketing, albeit with different strategies.


1-Embracing Real Beauty:

 Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” challenged traditional beauty standards. They used real people in their ads and promoted body positivity and self-acceptance.

2-Emotional connection:

 Dove focused on emotion and empowerment, making women feel good about themselves regardless of life pressures.

3-Authenticity and transparency:

 They emphasized a commitment to authenticity, presented real stories and experiences, and built customer confidence.


1-Seductive Desire:

 AXE targeted the aspirations of young men, associating them with passion and confidence.

2-Humor and boldness:

 The company used humor and bold advertising campaigns that were often perceived as provocative, resonated and memorable in the minds of consumers

3-Understanding the target audience:

AXE knew its audience intimately and catered to their wants and desires, strengthening customer relationships.

In both cases, the brand won individual sales to the extent that:

  • Understanding their audience: identifying target demographics and relevance.
  • Persuasive storytelling: Creating storytelling that evokes emotion and connects with customers on a deeper level.
  • Authenticity: To remain honest and authentic in their message, which builds trust.
  • Creating memorable campaigns: Using creativity and innovation to stand out and be memorable in a crowded marketplace.

Their success also stems from their ability to adapt to changing consumer behavior and preferences while remaining true to their core values ​​and brand.

Can a company take personal marketing too far?

To be sure, a company can take personal marketing too far, cross ethical boundaries or invade people’s privacy. Here are some ways that personal marketing can be pushed too far or unethically.

Invasion of privacy:

1-Overly aggressive data collection:

 Excessive collection of personal information without explicit consent or using unethical methods to obtain it.

2-Aggressive targeting:

Attacker retargeting or personalized ads based on hypersensitive or private information.

3-Stalking Behavior:

Constantly following individuals online or offline without explicit consent.

Strategic Methods Used:

1-Cognitive manipulation:

The use of cognitive weaknesses to manipulate consumer behavior or emotions.

2-Deceptive practices:

The use of misleading or false information to match marketing messages, thereby misleading or harming consumers.

Ethical Issues:


Targeting vulnerable groups such as children or individuals with specific weaknesses without regard for their well-being.

2-Crossing cultural or social boundaries:

Ignoring cultural sensitivities or social norms in personalized marketing, resulting in resentment or backlash.

Controlled or affiliated company:


An excessive amount of personalized messages that bombard customers, causing anger or frustration.

2-Ignoring opt-out requests:

Ignoring individual trading opt-out requests, violation of consumer choice.


1-Hidden work:

 Hiding the people who are actually behind individual marketing efforts, and creating distrust among consumers.

2-Data processing is unclear:

 Failure to specify how personal data is used or shared, violating expectations of trust and confidentiality.

When personalized marketing crosses these boundaries, it can damage a company’s reputation, cause lawsuits, and hurt consumer confidence. Striking a balance between personalized marketing and respect for individual privacy and ethical considerations is critical to sustainable and ethical business practices.

Is there a conflict of interests in the way Unilever markets to women and young men? Is it undoing all the good that might be done in the “Campaign for Real Beauty” by making women sex symbols in Axe ads?

There is definitely division in how Unilever’s brands like Dove and Ax target demographics with seemingly contradictory messages.

Dove’s “real beauty campaign”:

The Dove campaign aimed to empower women by challenging traditional beauty standards, celebrating diversity and promoting body positivity. It focused on inclusion, self-acceptance and the acknowledgment of individual beauty beyond rigid standards. The campaign was praised for its positive impact on women’s self-esteem and society’s perception of beauty.

Trading strategy for Axe:

On the other hand, the X marketing tended to reflect stereotypical images of masculinity, associated with their luxurious products and sensual and sometimes ambitious images of women Their advertisements are rooted in tradition in showing men as basic human beings and women as objects of desire, where men women use bow items established the idea of ​​being more appealing for women.

Conflicts of interest:

Conflict arises from the nature of inconsistent message delivery. Dove promotes empowerment and challenges traditional beauty standards, while X marketing perpetuates traditional gender roles and objectifies women This discrepancy can undermine the positive impact of the Dove campaign by reinforcing the social norms the campaign seeks to challenge.

Impact and shape:

Consumers, especially those familiar with both campaigns, may also see disconnects or hypocrisy in Unilever’s marketing strategies. While Dove’s message promotes inclusion and empowerment, X’s seems to reinforce stereotypes and objectivity.

The company’s responses

Unilever acknowledged this gap and stated its commitment to fair advertising. They tried to make Axe’s message more consistent with that of respect and virtuous masculinity. However, reconciling these conflicting marketing strategies within the same company remains a challenge.


In terms of marketing, the contrasting strategies of Unilever’s brand Dove X represent differences in messaging: one advocates empowerment and inclusion, the other idealization and value the presence continues Although Dove’s “real beauty campaign” successfully challenged social norms and created positive change, X’s This mismatch, as opposed to marginalizing traditional marketing strategies the risks of undermining the progress Dove has made by reinforcing traditional values. Having an integrated, goal-aligned approach to campaigns across the company can be essential to ensure consistent and impactful messaging that resonates well with different audiences, and builds authority while respecting the individual dignity and integration they offer.

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