How does Dove feel about buffing photos of women into flawless, taut perfection?
If its recent viral campaign is any indication, the company doesn't like it one bit.
Dove Canada took a clever potshot at designers by releasing a Photoshop action for free across channels such as Reddit. Called "Beautify," the action promised to add a youthful glow to any photo. Except that if you actually used it, it did something completely different than what it promised: It erased all changes made to the photo, returning it to its original state.
A video from the company explains the reasoning behind the tricky Photoshop business. "After years of celebrating Real Beauty and helping women find happiness in how they look, Dove decided to try something different, " the opening reads. "For the first time, we spoke directly to those responsible for manipulating our perception of beauty – art directors, graphic designers and photo retouchers – in a place only they could be reached."
Dove has done this kind of thing before as a part of their campaign for "Real Beauty." Their "Evolution" campaign showed a woman with no makeup transformed into a glossy billboard model, even going as far as to show her neck being artificially lengthened in Photoshop to create a swanlike appearance.
On the other side of the coin, Dove has been criticized for the same campaign being hypocritical. Pascal Dangin, the retoucher that worked on the Real Beauty campaign, admitted to the New Yorker in 2008 that the photos of "real women" were heavily altered, saying, "But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive.”
Did Dove really make a statement with "Beautify?"