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. null

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!
madonna improved?


8 Responses to “Real women, real beauty. Natural enemies of the cosmetic industry?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Raquel Babz, Alicia Hart. Alicia Hart said: Real women, real beauty. Natural enemies of the cosmetic industry …: On the back of that finding we created a ca… […]

  2. I think it should be mandatory for school kids to learn the power of photoshop. I know beauty retouching helped me feel better because it showed me what a joke ads are. It would make a lot of people realize that all the models and celebs are imperfect… Imperfection is normal.. total perfection is not.
    In my opinion major retouching to sell a beauty item should not be used because it is false advertisement. I don’t care if they remove a pimple for an add selling eyeshadow, but it is totally wrong to digitally remove wrinkles in an add for wrinkle cream.

    • i agree school offers a good opportunity to raise the issue, especially so since schools are recognising the importance of healthy self-image in young girls. The no retouching rule you propose has appeal but to extend it you’d have to ban all retouching of products too? I’m afraid retouching is here to stay; as consumers we have to develop resistance to phony marketing imagery. (You might like this: I’m working on a testimonial campaign right now for a brand of road excavators where we’re retouching the drivers to look more dirty and flawed!! So I guess I’ve become another retouching sinner).

  3. I think the ban should be only for touching up the feature for the product you are selling and also have a statement somewhere visible in the add that the photo has been altered and may not give you those results. lol, i like your idea of making people dirty… see this picture i did in photoshop:

  4. […] not aiming high enough! But not all advertisers require quite so much of us. Dove (about whom I have blogged in approval) simply suggests women need to shave their armpits in order to attain enlightenment. […]

  5. […] I’ve blogged a couple of times about Dove’s well known ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’. […]

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