In 1915, Coca-Cola challenged glass companies to come up with a bottle design so distinct it could be recognised by feel in the dark, or if found broken on the ground. The now iconic design that hit production lines a year later was nicknamed the ‘Mae West’ after the actress’s famously curvaceous figure.
In a similar vein, Dove’s new bottles have been designed to mimic the varied shapes of its female customers, and make them feel good about their bodies. They’re designed to promote a positive body image, no matter your shape or size, but do they really achieve this? Or does picking a bottle that matches your body shape serve as more of a reminder of your insecurities than of the beauty in difference? It may empower some, but risks leaving others reaching for a different brand.
Dove’s otherwise brilliant ‘Real Beauty’ campaign has focused on the gap between how women perceive themselves, and how others see them. In one ad, women are the subject of two portraits by an FBI forensic artist, one as described by themselves, the other using a stranger’s observations. The stark difference between the two provided a simple message – you’re more beautiful than you think.
Their new bottles don’t promote the same message. You can choose the one you are or the one you aren’t. Bodies are subjective, bottles are not.