Will ‘real beauty’ ever go mainstream in advertising?

Published: 7-Mar-2017

As Dove recommits to using everyday women over models, is it realistic to expect the beauty industry to ever follow suit?

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Last week, Dove announced its recommitment to its pursuit of helping women feel confident in their skin by making the Dove Real Beauty Pledge.

Through the pledge, Dove promises to never use models in campaigns, only real, unedited women, introduced by their names.

It has also confirmed that it plans to use women that reflect the population’s diversity and that it will always approve images with the women photographed before proceeding.

To mark the launch of the pledge, Dove has released 32 new portraits of women and girls from around the world with ages ranging from 11-71.

Vicki, who lost her leg to cancer, is one of the 32 women photographed to mark Dove's new pledge

Vicki, who lost her leg to cancer, is one of the 32 women photographed to mark Dove's new pledge

Models dominate

Dove has been a frontrunner in the movement towards embracing ‘real women’ over models in beauty advertising.

Its Campaign for Real Beauty has been active for more than ten years, during which time it has called on brands in the fashion and beauty industry to take a stand against the use of unrealistic images in advertising.

While many other brands have attempted to embrace ‘real beauty’ in their own campaigns such as Illamasqua, MAC and Nars, picture perfect models still seem to dominate the vast majority of campaigns.

Beauty from within

Our goal is to disrupt typical industry messaging by spreading the idea that beauty comes from within.

Brands are still running with the ‘real beauty’ movement, however, and campaigns have started spilling into the wellness sphere.

Health company Lycored, which specialises in carotenoid-based wellness products, recently sponsored a letter-writing station at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in January.

The Letters for Love initiative was an extension of Lycored’s #rethinkbeautiful campaign and was designed to

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