Dove have long been fighting the good fight when it comes to realistic representations of female beauty, having made headlines 12 years ago when they first launched their Real Beauty campaign. For years Dove have reflected the absurdity and falsity of the beauty industry through their innovative campaign, but until now, it has always been merely through the juxtaposition of their own creative projects. Now Dove have launched a highly original project, that while brilliant on paper, perhaps misfires a little in the wild.
Creating a Photoshop Action entitled Beautify, Dove made it available online for the graphic design community to download and implement in their projects. The idea being that Beautify would undo the photo manipulation and airbrushing of the graphic designer and display a message advocating real beauty, the ethos of the Dove brand. While they have to be applauded for such a novel approach, it’s evident that they perhaps misjudged their targets; the graphic design community. Skimming through the Twitter hashtag #DovePositiveChange, praise is mixed with negative responses from the design community who feel insulted and offended by the blame heaped upon them. They do have a point of course, as graphic designers are not the ones who produce and promote the mainstream images but are in most cases just doing their jobs. As, @brian_hagen, one justifiably cynical tweeter put it, “Gosh! I got tricked by #DovePositiveChange ” said no art director ever. Another creative bit seen by no one just to submit to award shows.”
It seems ironic that perhaps the campaign name, Thought Before Action could also be applied to the campaign itself. An utterly brilliant concept that will appeal to the casual viewer, but in practice lacks the potency when considered for more than a minute.