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Dove gives women something new to worry about

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Mar 30, 2011
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Kai Ryssdal: Ladies, I don’t know how to tell you this, but apparently your underarms aren’t all they could be. So says the consumer products company Unilever, which, don’t you know it, is launching a new product this week to help you out with that.

Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: Now, I haven’t looked closely at my underarms in a while, but I’m pretty sure they’re not my best asset. Thankfully, help has arrived for me, and millions just like me: Unilever’s Dove Ultimate Go Sleeveless deodorant. It pretties up scaly, discolored underarm skin in just five days.

The marketing video features a young woman gleefully cutting the sleeves off a pile of shirts, spicy salsa music in the background.

But Unilever may be facing a tough sell. It seems we women aren’t that worried about our armpits.

At least not the women I talked to today. Women like Rosie Wilson. I caught up with her and a friend on their way back from lunch.

Rosie Wilson: Let the armpit take care of itself. Let the hair grow.

Thirty-year-old Asal Esfahani also sees no need for armpit anxiety. She thinks Unilever is trying to sell us a problem.

Asal Esfahani: Marketing’s main strategy has been to work off our insecurities and increase them, and add even things you never heard about I guess.

Even marketing experts are skeptical. Larry Weber heads the W2 Group. He says companies like Unilever are getting desperate because the nearly $3 billion deodorant market is saturated.

Larry Weber: Big consumer products companies just are trying to do anything and think of anything for you to buy more.

Come to think about it, the backs of my knees are pretty ugly, too. I can only hope they come up with a solution to that horrible situation, soon.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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