Dove attacks the architects of artificial beauty… turning their tools against them

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Dove has been a case of positioning and creative excellence for well over a decade. Their Real Beauty campaign not only changed conventions when it was released, it continues to be a powerful mission in a world where design acumen and celebrity religiously push artificiality. The architects of some of the most notorious work within the campaign wanted to raise the debate once again. The challenge was that awareness was not the problem, it was behavior.

To change the discussion around the definition of real beauty requires not just getting women to rebel against the conventions of society, it requires the architects of those conventions to think differently. Who are these people? The graphic designers, art directors, and retouchers who manipulate the images to get at “better” ads and photos. So Dove Canada developed a free Photoshop plug-in that was masked as a quicker image “beautifier”, but actually reverted photos to their original state.

The missed opportunity to really get these “architects of beauty” to change their behavior is to give them options that are win-wins. The Photoshop plug-in is a brilliant idea but doesn’t help art directors, graphic designers, and retouchers do their jobs better. It actually wastes their time. At least that is how they are likely to see it. Instead the software should try to serve up ways of glorifying original photos so that honesty in the photo remains. Have a look and let me know what you think.

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