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New Dove Ads put a Real Face on Aging PDF Print
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Tuesday, 24 April 2007 04:11

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/24/07

Beauty products tend to focus on the positive, so fresh-faced celebs like Christie Brinkley are more likely to push anti-wrinkle creams than a frazzled mother of four.

Perhaps that's why Dove skin care company caused a stir in 2004 when it recruited women with real curves to introduce its "Real Beauty" campaign. Ads for Dove's Pro-Age line, which targets women over age 50, are just as eye-catching.

Older women are filmed nude for commercials that feature the tagline, "Too old to be in an anti-aging ad." Shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, the ads won't air on national television, but print versions will appear in magazines such as Ebony, AARP, People and Ladies' Home Journal. Less revealing commercials touting the company's hair care products made the cut for television.

Pro-Age spokeswoman Karen Giblin of Roswell discussed the new campaign, along with her work as founder of Red Hot Mamas, which provides information on women's health issues.

Q: What was your initial reaction to the new ad campaign?

A: I was excited because I kind of know some of the demographics. I know women are living longer, more vital lives than the previous generation. ... Fifty today is just the starting point in one's life. A lot of our attitudes have changed about aging. You can't avoid getting older, but chronologically it means little.

Q: Several companies have offered products, from clothing to makeup, targeting older women. Is it insulting to be told what is age-appropriate?

A: The key for any company and any person would be to have women accept and value themselves at any age, to be able to acknowledge the inevitability of aging and make healthy choices. Dove has brought the fact out that it's OK to age. You don't have to sit and compare yourself to the days gone by. We're no longer hotties; we're getting hot flashes. The outfits I wore in my 20s aren't going to be good with my body shape now.

Q: Are shoppers ready for that kind of reality?

A: If we get used to seeing these ads, there will be more of an acceptance of aging. Looking at the warmth in someone's eyes, that's what beauty is about; it's not the wrinkles, it's the sparkle in the soul. There's really no Fountain of Youth. We're not going to have Demi Moore bodies. As we age we have to have discipline. We don't have to lower the lights and change the bulbs to 25 watts.

Q: How did you develop the name and the concept for Red Hot Mamas?

A: I was living in Connecticut and serving my third term in public office when I learned that I needed a total hysterectomy. I came home from Yale [after the procedure], not knowing what menopause was about. My daughters used to see me and say, "You're a red-hot mama." That led to a menopausal career change, and today I have the largest menopause education program in the United States. It's in 29 states and 80-plus hospitals.

Q: What does it mean to age gracefully in the age of Botox and photo facials?

A: Remember George Burns, who lived to be over 100 years old? He said, "You can't avoid getting older, but you don't have to get old." That's really a good quote. Women today have a lot more confidence than before. You see the warmth shining through their eyes — and they're still having fun.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 November 2009 04:02

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