Real women, real beauty. Natural enemies of the cosmetic industry?
Some years ago I was involved in a piece of research which found that women were incredibly frustrated by the unatainability of the imagery published by the cosmetics and fashion industries. On the back of that finding we created a campaign featuring authentic women, real customers of the client we were working with. Yes it was a lot more work than simply calling the talent agency but we got some arresting images as a result. About the same time Dove was just embarking on its now famed Campaign for Real Beauty along similar lines.
I wish my client had the staying/investment power that Dove has! My campaign lasted under a year, Dove has gone on growing theirs, now adding the Dove Self-Esteem fund.
Well, perhaps Debenhams in the UK has found the same thing. The U.K. department store retailer started by using plus size mannequins in the windows of its stores because they more accurately reflected the sizes of its customers. The company has also used a disabled person in a wheelchair to model in one its ad campaigns. Now the company has decided, in keeping with its promotion of natural beauty, that it will no longer allow photos of its models to be retouched. According to a report in the Daily Mail, a sign next to a shot of a model in the store’s window reads: “We’ve not messed with natural beauty; this image is unairbrushed. What do you think?”
“Our campaign is all about making women feel good about themselves — not eroding their self belief and esteem by using false comparisons,” said Mark Woods, director of creative and visual for the retailer. Exactly. But crikey, the uptake of such ideas by the fashion industry is astonishingly slow. The industry set up to provide products to help women look after themselves clearly hates the way they look!