Dove has a reputation for disruption when it comes to advertising. Famous for the Dove Self-Esteem Project—its move to include only “real” women and girls in advertising, sans photoshop—the brand is attempting to move the needle further with the introduction of the “No Digital Distortion” mark.
Beginning this month, the health and beauty brand will roll out the mark on its global static ads and photography, with the goal of having all ads marked by January 2019. The purpose of the “No Digital Distortion” mark is to send the message to women and girls that what they see in the ads has not been manipulated according to false standards of beauty, according to the company.
“When content in the media is not reflective of reality, it has a profound negative effect on the viewer,” said Jess Weiner, cultural expert and adjunct professor at University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School of Journalism. “Viewing unrealistic and unachievable beauty images creates unattainable goals, which lead to feelings of failure. This is especially true of young girls who have grown up in a world of social media filters and airbrushing.”
According to statistics released by the company, 77 percent of all women and seven out of 10 girls believe all images they see in the media have been digitally altered. Dove hopes the continuation of its Self-Esteem campaign will help future generations of women have a better relationship with the idea of beauty.
“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,” said Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs, body image expert.
However, the onus should not be entirely on the viewer, Diedrechs said. Brands can always take initiative and do more to showcase reality in their imagery.