Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dove's Photoshop Hack- "Action" Reverts Photo To Pre-Edited, Airburshed State

For almost ten years Dove has been producing ads focusing on 'Real Beauty'. It all started in 2004 with the launching of  "The  Campaign for Real Beauty", and I remember being rather impressed with who they were featuring as models. They weren't quite what one would expect- tall, young, skinny and gorgeous- they were real women: young, old, some even chunky.

From the Dove website:

2004: The Campaign for Real Beauty launched in September 2004 with a much talked-about ad campaign featuring real women whose appearances are outside the stereotypical norms of beauty. The ads asked viewers to judge the women’s looks (oversized or outstanding? and wrinkled or wonderful?), and invited them to cast their votes at

2005: Dove® kicked off the second and most iconic phase of the Campaign for Real Beauty in June 2005, with advertising featuring six real women with real bodies and real curves. The phase of the campaign was created to debunk the stereotype that only thin is beautiful and it drove
thousands of women to to discuss beauty issues.

This year, in collaboration with the Ogilvy ad agency in Toronto, Canada, Dove decided to draw attention to the habit of overly Photoshopping models to make them look thinner, more beautiful, less wrinkled.  In order to make art directors, graphic designers and photo re-touchers more aware, they created a Photoshop action that was supposed to create a "skin effect glow", but which actually reverted the photo back to its original form along with the message: Don't manipulate our perceptions of real beauty. They posted the "Beautify Action" on all the various sites that offer free actions, knowing that it would be downloaded by those who manipulate beauty for ad campaigns etc.

I doubt this little hack will change the industry, for those who might have downloaded and used it, but it was an interesting ploy. We do need to change our perception about what constitutes real beauty.

I did find this rather interesting article from 2008, however, accusing The Campaign For Real Beauty of allegedly Photoshopping the heck out of the models.

Some Photoshopping is okay, removing blemishes that aren't normally there, lightening dark circles, removing stray hairs, but when you virtually change what a person actually looks like.  Not cool.

H/T Chase Jarvis

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