Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is Dove's 'Campaign for Real Beauty' Real?

We're all familiar with the Dove Real Beauty campaign. It centers on the revolutionary idea to use "real women" rather than models in its advertising efforts.

This past Friday, a feature article in the New Yorker took an inside look at the world of photo retouching and renowned fashion retoucher Pascal Dangin. In it, the author posed the following scenario:
I mentioned the Dove ad campaign that proudly featured
lumpier-than-usual "real women" in their undergarments. It turned out that it
was a Dangin job. "Do you know how much retouching was on that?" he asked. "But
it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the
mileage but not looking unattractive."
As you can imagine, there was an uproar. Could it be true that the advertising campaign claiming real beauty was, itself, fake?

Both Dangin and Dove immediately issued statements. (Interestingly, I couldn't find a press release on this issue on the Campaign for Real Beauty Web site.) Dangin claims his comments were taken out of context and misconstrued. Dove claims the images were not digitally altered. Here's the final quote from Dove's statement:

Mr. Dangin responded, "The recent article published by The New Yorker
incorrectly implies that I retouched the images in connection with the Dove
"real women" ad. I only worked on the Dove ProAge campaign taken by Annie
Leibovitz and was directed only to remove dust and do color correction -
both the integrity of the photographs and the women's natural beauty were

Slate takes a look into whether it's possible to tell if the images were indeed retouched. What are your thoughts about all of this?

1 comment:

Christine said...

I hope it's not true. As a big fan of the Real Beauty Campaign, I'll be so sad if Dove turns out to be hypocritical. The trouble is, as much as I'd like to believe Dove, from what I gather from the New Yorker article, Dangin is the guy you go to for some amazing retouching and not just to remove dust. So why was he working on it? Giving Dove the benefit of the doubt, maybe he was just offering photographic advice on the best angles etc. to shoot the women at. Just a thought.

Dove's Evolution is one of our favorite spots (see the side bar) so I really hope Dove is not that hypocritical as this issue makes it sound...