Thursday, 7 March 2013

Dove Real Beauty Campaign gets a controversial online download. Ad Agencies not happy.

Dove, the Unilever brand, is extending its "real beauty" campaign which launched in 2004 and came to prominence in 2007 at The Cannes Festival.

It's a campaign aimed in part, at the true illustration of women in advertising and in editorial - campaigning against "air brushing". It also seemed to align itself with a campaign against young women identifying with those images and consequently leading to eating disorders amongst teenage girls.

What they've done is to distribute a piece of software ('Photoshop Action') on Social Media sites. Whilst downloading the software pretends to offer better filter images (in an 'Instagram' kind of way) for the photograph, in fact, it reverts the photograph to its original - warts and all.

It is aimed at Art Directors and creatives in Ad Agencies who create advertising featuring beautifully retouched women. And it makes a point.

Needless to say, Ad Agencies aren't happy with the download because it doesn't do what it promised to do. They've hit back at Unilever claiming that the original Dove campaign itself, was photoshopped and they also point to other Unilever campaigns (such as for 'Axe' and 'Fair&Lovely' brands) which features.....beautifully retouched women. Or so they say. Basically, you can't have it both ways....

But the idea of using a download in this way, is clever. Or controversial.
It depends on whatever way you look.