Dove Real Beauty – Not so real….maybe

Attention surrounding Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” just got kind of ugly.

Photos used in the self-esteem building initiative may have been airbrushed, according to an article in the May 12 issue of The New Yorker, posted online now.

In the article, airbrush artist, Pascal Dangin of New York’s Box Studios, is quoted as saying he retouched photos used in the Campaign for Real Beauty ad, which featured pleasantly plump women in white undergarments.

“Do you know how much retouching was on that?” asked Dangin. “But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive.”

The entire “Real Beauty” campaign is based on the idea that woman should feel positive about their natural bodies and not be overly influenced by mass media and advertising which sometimes use technical tricks like photo retouching to create unattainable portrayals of beauty. The creative positioning promoted a wider and more realistic definition of female beauty, and was developed after a 2004 global study conducted by Dove found that only 2% of women consider themselves beautiful.

Two years later, Ogilvy & Mather Toronto created “Evolution,” a viral video that showed how beauty-industry advertising manipulates images of women.

The self-esteem building effort translated into marketing and award show gold for the beauty brand—including an unprecedented two Grand Prix at Cannes last year.

“We are unsure right now what he did,” the Ogilvy spokeswoman told Ad Age. “He works with Annie Leibovitz, the photographer. And we don’t have any record of him actually working on any of the Dove campaign.

“There was no retouching of the women,” she said. “If there was a hair that was up in the air, that might have been the kind of retouching that was done.”

See the previous adjoke posts about the campaign here, here, and here .

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