Unilever’s Dove Real Beauty Mark Will Identify Unretouched Images


Dove Real Beauty campaign

Beginning in July, Dove is taking another step in its global “Real Beauty” commitment ensuring beauty is a source of confidence and “not anxiety” with the launch of a ‘No Digital Distortion Mark.’ Making a commitment to using unretouched or PhotoShopped imagery, the Mark will roll out across all Dove-branded content globally beginning in July (with Dove deodorant campaigns leading the initiative) and works with parent company Unilever’s continuing #Unstereotype platform.

By January 2, 2019, the mark will be incorporated into all static imagery showcasing women, across print, digital and social and will represent that the image is not distorted. Dove will be held accountable to only show accurate and genuine portrayals of people, showing them how they are in real life. The ambition of the Mark is to help women and girls navigate the media landscape letting them know that the image they see has not been digitally distorted to fit the ideals of what beauty is and isn’t.

Research from the 2016 Dove Global Beauty and Confidence report (and a 2017 follow-up) revealed how much women globally have lost faith in what they are viewing—77% in 2016 said they believed that all images in the media have been digitally altered or airbrushed, for example. Brands need to take note of this, since 69% of women cite increasing pressures from advertising and media to reach an unrealistic standard of beauty as a key force in driving appearance anxiety.

“When content in the media is not reflective of reality, it has a profound negative effect on the viewer,” stated Jess Weiner, Cultural Expert and Adjunct Professor at University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School of Journalism. “By viewing unrealistic and unachievable beauty images it creates an unattainable goal which leads to feelings of failure. This is especially true of young girls who have grown up in a world of filters and airbrushing.”

Dove has a long-standing commitment to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, and not anxiety. The Dove Self-Esteem Project (which launched in 2004), helps women develop a positive relationship with the way they look, raise their self-esteem and realise their full potential. To date, it has reached the lives of nearly 30 million young people in 138 countries, making the Dove Self-Esteem Project one of the largest providers of body confidence education in the world.

Dove’s Real Beauty Productions partnership with Shonda Rhimes, meanwhile, continues to create original programming that explores perceptions—by girls, women and society—of the expectations around what defines beauty.

The Dove ‘No Digital Distortion Mark’ joins the Self-Esteem Project tools—and the spirit of what CVS is doing as a retailer and Aerie is doing on the apparel front—and is a stamp to let everyone know that Dove is firmly committed to its belief of not digitally distorting images and that the women included are 100% as you would see them in real life and 100% beautiful.

Established in 2004, the Dove Self-Esteem Project is committed to reaching 40 million young people around the world with body confidence and self-esteem education by 2020. One element of this is education on how to counter the negative influence of media and become more aware and critical of what they see. The Mark will take this further and provide an identifier that will take the guess work out of consuming media, while also encouraging other brands to take action.

“Through the work of the Dove Self-Esteem project, we teach children to question what they see in the media and not to take everything at face value,” commented Dr. Phillippa Diedrechs, a body image expert. “However, the responsibility shouldn’t solely be on the viewer. Brands can do more to showcase reality and take this unnecessary pressure away. By doing so, we can have a positive impact on the lives of young girls.”

This Mark is a continuation of the Real Beauty Pledge—a recommitment in 2017 to only portraying what is real, true and accurate for women and beauty. It was a public commitment to never present the unachievable, manipulated, flawless images of “perfect” beauty, which the use of retouching tools can promote.

“Last year, we pledged to use images with zero digital distortion,” stated Dove Global Vice President, Sophie Galvani. “This year, we want to go one step further and give women a tool to help them understand what is real and what isn’t. The Mark will take help women identify reality and relieve some of the pressure to look a certain way, which is why we have created a new Evolution Film which reveals the extent of digital distortions and manipulations that takes place in media and advertising and brings to life the issue that women experience. We are hoping more brands join us in this movement, as this commitment needs to be widespread.”

According to Dove parent company Unilever, one in every three U.S. households uses a Dove product, which includes beauty bars, body washes, face care, anti-perspirant/deodorants, body mists, hair care, styling aids and Dove Men+Care, developed specially for men.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan underpins the company’s strategy by:
—Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
—Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030
—Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.


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