Co.Create

Dove Canada Uses Photoshop Trojan Horse to Shame Potential Body-Shamers

In the latest round of Dove’s long-running "Real Beauty" campaign, the company leaves a Photoshop Action where photography creatives might find it, in order to sabotage the unrealistic beauty standards they may be supporting.

Battles can’t always be fought like a football game, with the offense and defense meeting each other head-on. Sometimes it’s most advantageous to infiltrate the enemy for a sneak attack--which is exactly what Dove is doing in its ongoing war against unrealistically svelte depictions of women in advertising.

The decade-running "Real Beauty" campaign, which won a Grand Prix at Cannes in 2007, continues its assault on Photoshop by fighting fire with fire. Created by Ogilvy Toronto, Dove Canada’s latest endeavor is a sneaky way to hit the perpetrators of such ads right at the source--their computers.

The team at Ogilvy created the Photoshop action "Beautify", a downloadable file that makes a change with a single click, in this case aimed at photography creatives who might be shaving the curves off of a not-even-curvy model right this very second. The company hopes to spread "Beautify" by leaving it on sites like Reddit which art directors and the like are known to frequent--presenting it as an aid for retouching.

At first blush, it appears that "Beautify" adds a healthy-looking skin glow effect to the photo. What it actually does, however, is revert photoshopped images back to their original state. Although it occurs to me that some innocent Photoshoppers (though, are any of them truly innocent?) might get caught in the crosshairs of this sneak attack, a Photoshop action can be easily undone, and so any casualties will only be mildly inconvenienced--and probably not ashamed of their bodies.

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433 Comments

  • Kobus Faber

    The quickest way to sabotage any campaign or product is simply not to buy it. It's funny hoe people always look for someone to blame, then they don't have to change any of their behaviour. A lot of magazines and products uses un-retouched women in their advertising, but NO ONE BUYS THEM. So next time you want to criticise someone, Dove, criticise all those women that buys the people Magazine and HEAT, Cosmopolitain. Criticise the women that buys the perfume, the foods, the clothes. People vote with money, as soon as a company starts losing money, I promise you that they will change their strategy.

  • Charles

    within the design firm or ad agency goes down, from creative director to design director to designer.

  • Charles

    The company hopes to spread "Beautify" by leaving it on sites like Reddit which art directors

  • Mona Lisa

    First your Attraction is beaty second is your Fitness. I hope you will do Exercesice daily that is the reason of your Fitness is it True.

  • Carl Campbell

    Isn't this the same company that makes Axe? I am being sarcastic Unilever Makes and Markets both products. While they try to sell a healthy body image to women with Dove. They sell get laid by hot chicks if you marinate in our other product. You know the kind of chicks that don't use dove because we don't want them to have a healthy body image.

  • j7

    Nobody has yet mentioned that Dove is owned by Unilever, which also owns Axe products? Any karma Unilever earns with the Real Beauty campaign is nullified by the damage they do with their sexist, objectifying and fully-Photoshopped Axe marketing. Bottom line: the Real Beauty stuff is just playing to your conscience. There's no principle behind it; they're chasing money.

  • WhichWaysThisWay

    The end does not justify the means.  While Dove's goal may be good, the deceptive measure they take to 

  • $35497034

    Graphic designers, by and large, have no soul.  You are all trying to argue with a homunculus, they will defend the low morals of their profession in order to justify their behavior.  They are the ugly orcs or the advertising world, nothing more...

  • That is the most bizarre generalization about Graphic Designers I have ever heard. It's more confounding than offensive...and what makes you think graphic designers are so unique in there soullessness? Sounds personal...

  • I don't think you really understand what "graphic designer" means. Most graphic designers never retouch photos in their career. They're designing and building sites like this that you're using, the covers of the books you read and the packaging on every product you buy.

    Also do you think that they are the only ones making the call on what ads look like? How about the CMO, CEO, Marketing Director, Head of Research, etc etc. It takes a village to photoshop the thighs off a model. If you think its just a bunch of designers making all the calls then you are truly blind and naive.

  • by judging people you don't know, you are showing your true colors as well. have faith, not everyone is here to bring negativity.

  • Lorne G

    I think you guys are being far too critical of dove.   Naturally dove would like nothing more than to show women that they are beautiful.    Especially the really fat ugly ones that have money and are too ashamed to spend it at stores for skinny women.    

    I believe dove deserves a beer for this.   I mean who could straight faced fight for the rights of obese broads and then quickly change suits into Axe and show commercials of the hottest women on earth chasing an average joe wearing their shitty 'cologne'?   

    It takes balls to straight faced lie.   Dove(c) Has Balls.

  • neutronJK

    I think Dove Canada's point here is valid.  Whether we like it or not, photographers and graphic designers unwittingly play a role in the eating disorders many people - mostly young women - struggle with.  And saying that you're just fulfilling a client's request doesn't remove all responsibility.

    No one is saying you shouldn't edit a photograph to remove flaws in the image, but remaking the person, removing every skin imperfection, making her almost impossibly thin, enlarging her breasts, making her skin color unnaturally vivid - doesn't help society or make people feel better about themselves.   And yes, we all have a responsibility to do that.