Brands always sell dream, aspiration and fantasy. But in the name of aspiration, what brands should not do is create a false sense of reality. FMCG companies are often guilty of doing that. No shampoo in the world probably can make a hair shine like that in normal circumstances, unless the lady model in question already possess nice silky coiffure, the entire shampoo-ing process was closely monitored in a laboratory/beauty parlor type setting with extensive attention from a few beauticians and followed by close attention of a blow drier. Of course that part of the reality is never quite clear to general people. Does all the celebrity spokesperson who endorses the brand actually believe in the brand? Does Shahrukh Khan really believe Navratna powder is good enough for him to use? Because a brand has tested a product in laboratory setting and achieved certain standards, does that mean its good strategy to make a generalized quality statement like 99% dandruff will be cleaned and dandruff will never come back again?
Its not a question of ethics, because its well within the ethical standards. Its about making smart strategies. Most brands can never live up to such lofty standards that they claim. All the make up in the world probably won’t make most of us look like some of the models that showcase them in pictures. If that’s the case, shouldn’t there be a back lash from consumers at certain point of time? Isnt it obvious that consumers will stop believing in advertising?
If branding is indeed a long term game, what’s the point in making consumers feel they got the short end of the deal to gain ahead in short term? There is space for blunt honesty in branding. And Unilever through its massively successful “Campaign for Real Beauty” under its Dove brand has shown just that.