Dove is tackling the toxic culture of heavily edited selfies in its latest campaign tackling women's self-esteem issues, starting with a spot that echoes one of the brand's iconic campaigns from the 2000s.
The Unilever brand describes the campaign as a follow-up to its 2006 film "Evolution," by Ogilvy Toronto, which revealed all the work that went into turning an ordinary woman into a billboard-ready model. In the new spot, created via Ogilvy London, we see a selfie in reverse. It starts with a glamorous image that a woman has posted of herself on social media, with perfect hair, flawless skin and makeup. As we rewind we see all the elements that have gone into the image, including filters, tweaks and retouches, and when the makeup finally comes off we get to see the real person behind the image—a young teenager who looks nothing like the woman in the photo. "The pressure of social media is harming our girls’ self-esteem," the copy reads. "Let’s reverse the damage."
The spot was directed by Benito Montorio through Independent, and the original photograph, by Sophie Harris-Taylor, was created with the same retouching app that is used by millions of teenage girls to make it more authentic. The young girl who appears in the film Grace, was cast partly because she has first-hand experience of the issues it tackles.
The ad directs viewers to a landing page at dove.com/confidence, where parents in particular can find advice on giving their children the "selfie talk" and can download a kit to help them tackle the negative effects of social media. The campaign is running in multiple markets including the U.S., on TV, social media, print and digital.
“Fifteen years after the launch of our iconic 'Evolution' film addressing image manipulation in advertising, this new film tackles the issue of digital distortion again but this time, through the lens of retouching apps," said Alessandro Manfredi, executive vice president for Dove, in a statement. "Now that social media has grown to be part of our everyday lives, digital distortion is happening more than ever and tools once only available to the professionals can now be accessed by young girls at the touch of a button without regulation."
"Girls all around the world have begun to feel the pressure to edit and distort how they look, to create something ‘perfect’ which cannot be achieved in real life. After a year of increased screen-time, there’s never been a more important time to act. Dove wants to change this by highlighting this issue and providing free tools for parents and carers, to help the kids in their lives navigate social media in a positive way."
Daniel Fisher, global executive creative director on Unilever at Ogilvy and WPP, added, “At the time that ‘Evolution’ was released, the beauty industry was seen as doing the most damage to women’s self-esteem, but since then the world has evolved and now it’s selfie apps and the pressures of social media that pose the biggest threats. Not enough people are talking about the issue but hopefully this campaign will change that. As the father of two young daughters myself, I really hope it can make a difference."