Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When Censoring is Good

You may have heard the reports that ABC recently refused to air a television commercial from the Al Gore-led WE Campaign. It's strong stuff-- pointing fingers directly at the oil companies. And oil companies are steady advertisers on ABC and others. (Full disclosure: BP is our client, in case you didn't already know.)

Decide for yourself. If you want to enter the conversation, go visit

But a lesson learned from another Ogilvy client -- Dove -- comes to mind. Last year, after the successful "Campaign for Real Beauty," Dove launched a campaign that asked why "anti-aging" was used as a selling point for beauty products. What the heck is wrong with "age"? Real woman of all ages were celebrated in the "Pro Age" television ad. And it was banned by network TV for being inappropriate:

Horrified by censorship? Well, sure. But the networks helped make the point that no :30 TV spot every could-- that there is a cultural age bias that is unjust to women and unacceptable to support. And, it allowed us to tempt people to come see "the ad the networks wouldn't air." Game, set, match. The insight was made, Dove's genuine championing of real beauty re-enforced.

My guess, WE is smiling at ABC's unintentional boost to their PR efforts. Now it's a news story. Now people are outraged. Now bloggers everywhere are writing about it and sharing the commercial and their website. Now, oh, right....

Darn! Those clever folks got me.

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