Beyond Pink: Women in advertising

Urey Onuoha

Originally meant to drive traffic to another Spot in the same campaign, a 2006 Dove video called Evolution revealed the amount of image manipulation that went into making a billboard ad featuring a female model. Created as part of the "Canadian Campaign for Real Beauty," the video shows the entire process, from hair, makeup, and lighting work to the Photoshop effects, used to significantly alter the model's appearance. The video ends with the words "No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted" across a black screen.

Like other videos in Dove's global "Real Beauty" campaign, Evolution went viral online, helping to launch a global conversation about the limiting nature of beauty stereotypes for women. Evolution, in particular, shed light on how unattainable standards are promoted in advertising. In the decade since the video's release the number of brands showing realistic and positive portrayals of women in their marketing has grown steadily, driven by the positive consumer response to that messaging, changing societal views, and sheer math.