Dove's latest work focusing on the self-esteem of young girls sets out to expose the effect of "toxic" influencers.
A powerful new campaign from Ogilvy takes pairs of mothers and teenage daughters and aims to open the moms' eyes to the kind of content their daughters are consuming online. In the documentary-style film, directed by Henry-Alex Rubin of Smuggler, the moms and daughters sit down, apparently to watch some clips of influencers. The girls start by claiming that social media has had a positive impact on them, but then the film starts rolling.
Suddenly the moms see footage of themselves speaking, but the words coming out of their mouths are those of influencers giving "toxic" beauty advice—such as using Botox, chemical peels, extreme dieting, lip fillers and most shockingly, suggesting filing your teeth with a nail file.
The words of influencers were put into the mouths of the moms using deepfake technology, using footage of the moms from the casting sessions.
"Every single word that was scripted came from actual social content" said Daniel Fisher, global executive creative director for Unilever and special projects at Ogilvy, in an interview with Ad Age. "These girls actually lie in bed at night listening to this stuff and it is shocking. The idea is to show the moms, you wouldn't talk to your daughter like this, but other people do."
"Dove is not declaring war on influencers or social media," he added. "We use influencers who are responsible ones, but we want to show that there are influencers out there like these."
The film, which was created by Ogilvy's global Unilever team with contributions from the U.S, U.K. and Sweden, will kick off in the U.S., and Canada. Dove research shows two in three girls in the U.S. spend more than an hour on social media daily; one in two say idealized beauty content on social media causes low self-esteem; 80% would like their parents to help them manage idealized beauty posts and seven in 10 feel better after unfollowing idealized beauty content on social media.
"The kind of toxic beauty advice that girls today are getting exposed to on social media is heart-breaking and I only hope that this work kickstarts the conversations that we all need to be having," added Fisher.
The film is part of wider campaign called "#DetoxYourFeed" that will include partnering with celebrities such as Gabrielle Union and Zaya Wade to remind everyone that the power to curate your feed and overall experience with social media is in your hands. Dove is also providing additional resources to change the way parents and teens think and talk about beauty, including a parent-child workshop.
“We’ve identified a clear problem that is eroding the self-esteem of our girls and needs immediate attention and action," said Global Vice President of Dove Leandro Barreto in a statement. "We created this '#DetoxYourFeed' campaign to not only raise awareness around the insidious nature of toxic beauty advice, but to also help parents navigate tough conversations and empower teens to unfollow content that makes them feel bad about themselves. While it may be a bit overwhelming at times, we hope it will contribute to important conversations that lead to a more positive experience for teens on social media.”