Innovation That Matters

The film is accompanied by a set of photographic posters shot by Sophie Harris-Taylor | Photo source Sophie Harris-Tyler

'Reverse selfie campaign' tackles problem of face-tuning apps amongst young women

Advertising & Marketing

Unilever-owned company Dove is critiquing the way in which self-esteem in young women is being eroded by apps that change the way they look

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Spotted: Advertising agency Ogilvy has partnered with director Benito Montorio to produce a 60-second advertising campaign for Dove, which highlights the dangers of retouching apps and edited selfies on social media, and how they can affect the self-esteem of young people. 

The campaign, called Reverse Selfie, reverses the stages of a young woman posting a selfie on social media. The Ogilvy ad shows the woman undoing the makeup, hair and even facial proportions of her selfie, finishing up with the revelation that the woman is just a girl, barely in her teens. 

The ability to distort an image this much is now commonplace. Dove’s executive vice president, Alessandro Manfredi, says that “Now that social media has grown to be part of our everyday lives, digital distortion is happening more than ever and tools once only available to the professionals can now be accessed by young girls at the touch of a button without regulation.” 

The film is accompanied by a set of photographic posters shot by Sophie Harris-Taylor, which set a real woman’s face and the facetuned alternative against each other. Dove has also created a Social Media confidence Kit for both parents and teachers, which is a tool through which adults can discuss the issue — in what Dove is calling ‘the Selfie Talk’ — with young people. Indeed, Dove is calling for action against unrealistic beauty standards and wants as much time to be given to this in education as topics such as puberty and sex. 

The ad isn’t Dove’s first foray into campaigning against unrealistic beauty standards. Their 2006 ad, Evolution, went viral when it critiqued the unrealistic standards of beauty in the media and advertising world. But the world of beauty has become even more damaging since then, says Daniel Fisher, global ECD for Unilever at Ogilvy and WPP: “At the time that Evolution was released, the beauty industry was seen as doing the most damage to women’s self-esteem, but since then the world has evolved and now it’s selfie apps and the pressures of social media that pose the biggest threats”. 

Following this campaign, Dove are taking this further, running similar ads across all mediums and around the world, and using the hashtag #nodigitaldistortion on social media. 

Written By: Holly Hamilton

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