Dove, the beauty brand owned by Unilever, successfully extended its “Campaign for Real Beauty” directly into the media and advertising space through creating a library of stock images that is truly representative of all women.

Amy Stepanian, marketing director/Dove and Dove Men+Care US, discussed this topic at the 2019 Strategy Festival held by the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) in New York.

More specifically, she referenced “Project #ShowUs”, an initiative launched in partnership with Getty Images, one of the leading providers of stock photos, and Girlgaze, a global network of female-identifying and non-binary creatives.

The three organisations built the “Project #ShowUs” hub on Getty’s platform. It features thousands of photographs taken by female creators, and spans every type of woman, with each image being tagged by its subject to truly represent their attitudes and beliefs.

“For us, it was really about: How can we create a movement?” said Stepanian. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Dove’s “Project #ShowUs” drives change in beauty depictions across ads and media.)

“We’ve always been committed to being on the forefront of the conversation and making sure that we’re representing what reality looks like today.”

A variety of insights informed this campaign, including the fact that 70% of women don’t feel represented by ads, and 67% want advertisers to “take responsibility” for the stock images they use.

Further datapoints indicated that 70% of women felt “pressurised to reach an unrealistic standard of beauty”, while 49% stated they could not wear the clothes they wanted to, and 37% felt limited in their ability to express their real identity.

The “Project #ShowUs” initiative aimed to tackle these problems. “It was women in front of and behind the camera, and building this photo bank to say, ‘This is what beauty looks like today,’” said Stepanian.

“And it’s representative of not just different shapes and sizes and colors, but disabilities and LGBTQ, and making sure that we’re pushing the envelope in terms of how we’re thinking about beauty and what real beauty looks like today.”

For advertisers and media brands, Stepanian argued, this type of imagery should be the default. “Really, at the end of the day, this shouldn’t be a creative execution or campaign. It should be the norm,” she said.

Sourced from WARC