WHAT DID DIOR DO WRONG IN THIS CAMPAIGN?
In fairness I can certainly see why Dior might have thought it was a good idea to have a beautiful 25 year old woman as the face of their campaign, but their obvious message, if you use our product, this is the results that you’ll get – the flawless look of Cara Delevingne, is so far out of the realm of reality as to be absurd. Now that being said, can we just talk about all the different ways Dior’s PR with this campaign was a huge flop? Dior’s intended audience is women who have wrinkles, so clearly women pushing mid-thirties and beyond. That makes sense; this is the correct target audience. These are the women who are going to be buying this product with the hopes of seeing less wrinkles and a younger face. Dior needed to be a little more realistic… no matter how much of this cream women in their target audience use, they are never going to look like Delevingne, someone who hasn’t lived long enough to have any wrinkles, so why piss off and offend your target audience? Delevingne would be perfect if you were targeting audiences who consisted of teenagers and twenty year olds. At least then Delevingne would give an accurate and more realistic product testimony on what the product did for her and could do for them. Dior’s target audience is not going to take this product seriously because they’re not seeing someone their age “using” it and showing the “amazing” results. The lack of common ground they have with Delevingne when it comes to products like this is decades’ worth. There is just absolutely no way that she can give a product testimony that will actually persuade the target audience to take this product seriously and to actually try it. Rightfully so.
You wouldn’t see Clinique release some product aimed at twenty year olds with Jennifer Aniston as the face of their campaign because the product doesn’t relate to Aniston and Aniston doesn’t relate to the target audience. (Still a huge fan of Jennifer, goals.) I honestly don’t understand how Dior thought this was a good idea. How did they not see the problems that would come from this? It was a good try, Dior, but better luck next time. Next time go with Jennifer Aniston or someone equally as beautiful and equally as mature. At almost 50 years old, Aniston is the beautiful woman whom your target audience would’ve related to the most and would’ve sold the product better.
INSPIRATION THAT DIOR CLEARLY NEEDED
I guess it was wishful thinking that Dior paid attention and took notes from past campaigns that were successful. Let’s take a look at Aveeno’s 2014 Positively Radiant Face Moisturizer with Jennifer Aniston as the face of the campaign.
Younger and older generations look at Jennifer Aniston as a beautiful, successful, glowing woman. In the commercials you see Aniston’s face literally radiating with a healthy, young, and wrinkle free look. Yes, we know Photoshop has a lot to do with lack of wrinkles and the exuberant radiant look on her face, but when people see that commercial, that is not the first thing that comes to mind. The first thing that comes to mind is, “Wow, she looks absolutely stunning. I need to use whatever she’s using.” Next they see and hear Aniston’s product testimony on how that specific product is what made her face look so flawless on top of radiant. I mean, why would the target audience not buy and use a product that looks like it has successful results with a ‘credible’ product testimony?
DIOR’S NEXT STEP
Dior is one of the most well-known and respected brands in the world, so no matter how horrible this campaign went, they have the chance to really fix this. They could partner Delevingne up with an actress or model who is older and produce a short film. In the short film they could have a woman reminiscing about her younger days with her young, radiant, and smooth looking skin. Her younger self could be portrayed by Delevingne and have the more accurate representative talk about how well the cream has worked to getting back to her old skin.
No matter what Dior chooses to do next in response to this campaign, they better go at it with a more conscious and sensitive approach. Audiences don’t like to be lied to or insulted, and with this campaign Dior tried to do the former and succeeded brilliantly with the latter. It remains to be seen whether their reputation is injured beyond repair. After several decades of selling fine cosmetics, I tend to think they can rehabilitate their reputation, but this kind of campaign can’t be ignored. The modern consumer is a lot more intolerant of such antics and companies, like Dior, can quickly find themselves in quite a fix. A repeat performance may have women permanently abandoning the brand altogether in favour of a more respectful vendor.
Emily Williard is an exchange student, currently studying public relations at Ulster University, as part of her degree in Public Relations at Appalachian State University in the US. She can be contacted on Instagram at emilee_5 or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-williard-0196a4151.