Dove tackles toxic selfie culture in ad updating its 'Evolution' commercial

Latest campaign from Ogilvy rewinds a selfie, with shocking results

Published On
Apr 22, 2021

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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, 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."


Apr 22, 2021
Client :
Agency :
Global Dove Executive Vice President :
Alessandro Manfredi
Global Brand Vice President Dove Masterbrand :
Sophie van Ettinger
Global Brand Director Dove Masterbrand :
Edo Briola
Global Brand Manager Dove Masterbrand :
Hugo Rawlinson
Global Brand Manager Dove Masterbrand :
Alix Colin
Global Executive Creative Director Unilever :
Daniel Fisher
Global Creative Director :
Juliana Paracencio
Art Director :
Liam Bushby
Copywriter :
Alison Steven
Head of Copy :
Ollie Jarrott
Head of Art :
Matt Nankivell
Design Lead Integrated :
Sian Hughes
Global Business Lead WPP Unilever :
Jo Bacon
Global Managing Partner :
Sam Pierce
Global Business Director :
Account Manager :
Grace Boyle
Project Manager :
Zahra Mair
Head of Integrated Production :
James Brook-Partridge
Film Producer :
Sally Lipsius
Film Producer :
Sue Lee Stern
Head of Art Production :
Sarah Thomson
Art Producer :
Chloe Jahanshahi
Chief Strategy Officer :
Ben Kay
Strategy Partner :
Ila De Melloa Kamath
Strategist :
Cristina Diago
Senior Social Strategist :
Justin Jackson
Director :
Benito Montorio
Director of Photography :
Steve Annis
Executive Producer :
Verity White
Producer :
Simon Eakhurst
Editor :
Sam Jones
Editor :
Scott Crane
VFX Supervisor and lead flame artist :
Phil Oldham
VFX Artist :
Lucas Warren
VFX Artist :
Tom Clapp
VFX Artist :
Carl Godwin-Alvarez
Motion graphics and design :
Jonas McQuiggan
Executive Producer :
Sally Heath
Engineer :
Munzie Thind
Composer/Arranger :
Philip Kelin
Photographer :
Sophie Harris-Taylor
Stills Producer :
Lucy Barbour
Retoucher :
Justin Shurmer

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