Is Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign Truthful?

  • Amy Bebbington

“Daddy, do you think I’m ugly?” asks Seth Matlins daughter as he is tucking her into bed. The powerful question that was obviously concerning his young child influenced the former high powered advertising executive to leave his job and launch a petition aimed at the beauty brand, Dove; his efforts has earned 3,758 signatures so far. Mr Matlins was horrified when their innocent daughter naively questioned her beauty and realised that beauty campaigns may be to blame. Do you agree?

The beauty industry is constantly under scrutiny for using Photoshop to enhance models appearance and market their product. Cosmetic brands will agree to using advanced technology to alter the face shape, skin complexion and neck length to portray the ‘perfect’ image. Essentially, the brand is creating an unrealistic perception of the products capabilities. Unfortunately, mascara will not elongate lashes dramatically, moisturisers will not create flawless skin and shampoo will not provide locks with exaggerated volume. It is all altered by Photoshop allowing for society to strive for an unattainable physical appearance.


However, Dove celebrates their 10 year anniversary this year for their Real Beauty campaign where they vow to not use Photoshop on their advertising imagery. The result being that their audience sees a true reflection of their products no matter of an individuals age, shape or skin colour.

Seth begins his mission with the beauty giant as they have been the voice against Photoshop over the last decade. He does not outright accuse Dove of any misconduct, he simply would like for the brand to disclose whether they have or haven’t used Photoshop to enhance their campaigns. Mr Matlins would also like for Dove to avoid using Photoshopped ads where kids can witness the campaign. Billboards, bus shelters, mall kiosks and magazines are his main concern.

Dove’s famous time lapse video allows for viewers to see a model transformed dramatically by the use of Photoshop. In their own words Dove states: “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.” Therefore, the beauty manufacturer should have no qualms with admitting their views against Photoshop. In fact, they should be proud of their plight against false presentation within the modelling world. Seth appreciates Doves efforts and would like to take their concept a step further as he is concerned that impressionable children will grow up with a distorted view of beauty.

The popular cosmetic brand states on their website that 72% of girls worldwide feel ‘tremendous’ pressure to appear beautiful and only 22% actually are comfortable describing themselves with that adjective. Seth hopes that Dove will carve a path for other brands to follow by signing the Truth in Advertising Pledge. If they refuse to sign he demands “Let’s ask them why not…after a decade of “real beauty” it seems a fair question.”

Do you think that Mr Matlins has a fair point? With Dove’s bold move ten years ago it is important that the retailer sticks to their words with genuine actions that proves that they are truthful and trustworthy when highlighting the issue years ago. Of course, all brands require a marketing strategy to survive in a competitive field and Dove was aware that a campaign of this nature would be a success. Do you think that the whole concept is a marketing ploy or is the beauty brand expressing their true opinion of how they operate?

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Posted by Amy Bebbington

I express my love of fashion through writing, blogging and styling. My creative personality ensures that I produce unique and original work. I am a keen knitter and enthusiatic dancer.